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Full text of "The southern soldier boy : a thousand shots for the Confederacy"

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A THOUSAND SHOTS FOR THE 
CONFEDERACY 

By 

JAMES CARSON ELLIOTT, 

Company F, 56 Regiment N C, T., C. 5. A.. 186 1 -'65, 

SHELBY. N. C. 



j Historical Incldents.Remlnlscences and Personal Experlences.Cover 

In^. the nine months siege of Petersburg and both Prison Pens, 

etc., etc. Plain facts more interesting than Fiction, 

all from the standpoint of a Private Soldier 



Edwards & Bbouohton Printikg Compajsy, 
Raueigh N C. 







James Carson Elliott. 



The Southern Soldier Boy 



A THOUSAND SHOTS FOR THE 
CONFEDERACY 



By 

JAMES CARSON ELLIOTT, 

Company F, 56 Regiment N C. T., C. 5. A.. 1861 -'65, 

SHELBY, N. C, 



Historical Incidents, Reminiscences and Personal Experiences, Cover 

Ing the nine months siege of Petersburg and both Prison Pens, 

etc., etc. Plain facts more interesting than Fiction, 

all from the standpoint of a Private Soldier 



Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 
Raleigh, N. C. 



Gr|vu 1. 



COPYWKIGHT, 1907, 
BY 

James C. Elliott. 



PREFACE. 

A readable book should instruct, entertain and amuse. The 
author, outside of the historical interest of this little book, 
has aimed to cover a broad-enough field for all classes of 
readers to find some nourishing food — at least in the way of 
variety and shifting scenes — from the standpoint of a young 
private. 

And in order to understand his viewpoint, a brief sketch 
of the author is admissible. Born in Cleveland County, 
li. C, about midway between Charlotte and Asheville, July 
12, 1845. His father, a small slaveholder and a farmer, he 
was brought up to work on the farm and was well practiced 
in the use of firearms, and was well seasoned in the fox-chase 
and hunting sports. His father was an ardent Whig, and 
they got their political inspiration from William G. Brown- 
low's Knoxville, Tenn., Whig. (See Brownlow's and Pryneis' 
debate on ISTegro slavery.) Brownlow proved conclusively 
that slavery was of Divine origin ; that it had always existed 
and always would exist, because the Bible said, "The heathen 
you buy with your money shall never go free, but shall be an 
inheritance to you and your children forever." But when 
hostilities began, Brownlow sided with the Union and was 
the War Governor of Tennessee. The war spirit ran high in 
our section and all the boys were eager to take a hand in the 
fun of chasing the invaders out of our country. The first 
Manassas battle started them back the way our smart men 
said they would go. And I thought the fun would all be 
over before I would have a chance to share in the glory. But 
they kept coming in larger swarms. After I had organized 
and drilled with the Home Guards, I saw there was still a 
prospect to get to the front in time to take a hand. Two 
years had dragged along, the battle of Gettysburg had turned 
the scale, more than half of my early in friends had been 
knocked out when I entered the army for a three-years' term 
at the age of 18 years. We had understood at the first that 



PREFACE. 



we must fight three to one, but to whip that many Yankees 
was not thought to be much of a job; but when I waded in, it 
was quite evident that we must fight five to one. But we still 
thought they must be whipped, all the same. The numbers 
come up to our expectations, but we were sadly deceived in 
their fighting qualities. When they first came our cli- 
mate did not agree -with them, but the longer they stayed the 
harder they were to persuade away ; and they finally worried 
us out, until we had to let them alone ; and after staying with 
us awhile we learned they are as good as we are. From a 
distance, they are inclined to view us with a critic's eye, as 
through a glass darkly ; but when they come down and bring 
their washing, they get a clearer view. Then, and not until 
then, the veil is removed away, and all our problems stand re- 
vealed in open day. Progress comes through evolution and 
revolution ; where moral forces lag physical force compels 
the way. The only issue now is in patriotic rivalry of the 
sections. The heritage of one is the property of all. 

"Oh! carry me back to old Virginia," "The old Kentucky 
home," "Carolina, "Oh, for Carolina," "Away down in Geor- 
gia," "On the Sewanee River," etc., are refrains not equaled 
in the more frigid region. Then we have "Dixie," covering 
the whole Southland. All these are now held in common by 
our whole people. Whoever heard of any one ever wanting 
to be carried back to New England, where the natural re- 
sources are mainly ice, granite, rock, codfish and beans. Still 
we are all proud of the hardy New Englander who makes the 
desert blossom as the rose wherever he pitches his tent. 
His hard environment has been a blessing to every other part 
of the country, forcing him to seek greener pastures in balmier 
climes, and to disseminate his energy and frugality in those 
more leisureful sections that need encouragement to greater 
thrift. It was the combined qualities of the Virginia cava- 
lier and the ISTew England Puritan that made Stonewall 
Jackson invincible and Robert E. Lee the highest type of the 
American patriot. 



THE 

SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 



Jamestown and Its Significance. 

The English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, was the 
beginning of the highest civilization in the liberty of man and 
the establishment of the purest and best political government 
the world has ever known — perfected through many vicissi- 
tudes, stands as the beacon light of human liberty for all the 
world. 

The Jamestown Exposition. 

The 26th of April, 1607, is the date that will linger in his- 
tory after many a dreary record of battle and coronation has 
been swept away. For on that date the first permanent col- 
ony of English speech made its landing on the soil of North 
America. It is fitting that the three hundredth anniversary 
of this event should be marked by the opening of the James- 
town Exposition. 

The founding of Jamestown was not a step in a struggle, 
but a trophy of victory. And, though it began the westward 
march of the Saxon tongue, which has long since encircled 
the globe, it marked the victory less of a race than of a civili- 
zation. It was really the dedication of a continent to indi- 
vidual liberty; it was the definite announcement that the 
worn-out systems of empire should not usurp the new western 
land. It was a trophy gained in a hundred years of such 
warfare as the world has rarely seen, but it was a thousand 
times worth the price. 

When the peoples of Europe landed on the shores of the 
sixteenth century, they were a curiously assorted company. 
Germany was still playing the solemn farce of the Koman 
Empire, whose real existence had terminated a thousand years 



6 THE SOUTHEEN SOLDIER BOY. 

before. Spain had just driven the last armed infidel from 
her borders, and was preparing to use in foreign conquest the 
military excellence she had developed in her long crusade at 
home. Italy, divided into a dozen small states, had carried 
civilization as high as a purely city civilization can go, and 
was ready to decline. France was halting between two opin- 
ions, but, on the whole, leaned strongly toward the course of 
European aggression, which she pursued for centuries. All 
these countries were organized on the military plan. The 
individual counted for little among them; commerce counted 
for less ; all who were not soldiers could escape contempt only 
by becoming priests. In England and Holland a different 
organization prevailed. There the civilization was indus- 
trial, rather than military. Commerce was accounted a 
worthy work ; not so high as fighting, of course, but still per- 
fectly respectable; and the individual enjoyed a freedom and 
security unknown elsewhere. 

Which type of civilization would endure ? That was the 
great question before the world. Would the soldier and aris- 
tocrat, or the merchant and artisan, survive in the struggle 
which had already begun? The sixteenth century passed, 
and the contest was decided. The sturdy mechanic had out- 
worn his armored and tinseled lord. Italy was ruined ; Ger- 
many broken in two ; Spain hopelessly wrecked ; France, bled 
white by civil war, was gasping for breath. But England 
and Holland stood erect and at ease ; and, pausing only to 
make sure that the victory was their's indeed, went forth to 
possess the world. Jamestown and 'New Amsterdam were 
the first efforts of the free northern peoples to possess the land 
they had won. 

And not only was Jamestown the first English colony on 
the continent, but it was the first white settlement that de- 
served the name of colony at all. The adventures of the 
Spaniards were not colonizing, but conquest. They were 
crusaders, going forth to found kingdoms, not settlers seeking 
out homes. They went to the most densely inhabited parts 



THE SOUTHEKN SOLDIEK BOY. 7 

of the new world, simply because only a dense population of 
slaves could uphold the costly military type of Spanish civili- 
zation. The English came as homemakers. They sought 
out the unsettled parts of the land, and these they covered 
with a working civilization. Bad as slavery afterward be- 
came in this country, it never had a twentieth part of the in- 
fluence on our life that the same institution had in Spanish 
lands. The result is history. The industrial civilization 
which had beaten militarism on its ov^n ground in the old 
world, outstripped it with ridiculous ease in the new. Spain 
had a century's start, yet to-day two-thirds of the white people 
on the Western continent speak the English language and live 
within the borders of the United States. 

A Teibtjte to Virginia. 

Here is to Virginia, "The Old Dominion" State. At last 
with the young Confederacy linked her fate. Go search the 
annals of history back to the days of Abraham ; trace Jewish 
civilization ; compare Greek and Roman progress ; weigh the 
Crusaders of the Middle Ages and the Reformers of the fif- 
teenth and sixteenth centuries. Then look to the English 
people who first wrested the great Magna Charta — the Bill 
of Civil Rights — and human freedom from King John, and 
implanted these principles first in Virginia with the best 
blood of England, producing a Washington, a Jefferson, a 
Patrick Henry, a Madison, a Monroe, a Marshall, a Tyler, a 
Wise, a Robert E. Lee, a Stonewall Jackson — with thousands 
as high-toned and patriotic. There she stands superb ! With 
her honor, her chivalry, her patriotism and valor. Her high 
standard of civilization, unequaled and unexcelled by any 
people in any age, in any land. In the most trying crisis of 
any age she bore herself grandly, nobly. As Mother of Presi- 
dents and Mother of States. It was her lot to suffer most of 
all. For four years invaded by hostile armies and burdened 
by her own defenders, in the great struggles that swayed back 
and forth. Her homes despoiled, her fields trampled, her 



8 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

sons slain, and her soil drenched in blood. She was stead- 
fast, generous and hospitable to the last. She fed the hungry, 
clothed the naked, and cared for the sick and bound up the 
"wounded. And not a word of complaint ever came from a 
Confederate soldier that she ever failed to do what she could 
for him. 

Virginia was all this, notwithstanding she was handicapped 
by negro slavery, insidiously introduced by Dutch traders. 
And when it was known that Africans had sense enough to 
set plants and worm tobacco, JSTew England sagacity and en- 
terprise were quick to supply the demand for slaves and to 
stock the market until Virginia cried, Hold ! Enough ! Negro 
slavery held her on the low plane of an agricultural State — 
a producer of cheap raw products. Yet history shows no 
example of such progress as was made in the civilization of 
the Negro race. George Washington freed his negroes and 
turned them loose upon the community. Thomas Jefferson 
foresaw that a government could not remain half slave and 
half free. But the steady increase in slave property and its 
broad extension prohibited its ready abolition. Virginians 
were not the people to be dictated to by the very people that 
had pressed slavery upon her. She stood for the right to 
manage her domestic affairs as she pleased, and was quick to 
resent outside interference. The clash was inevitable and 
had to be fought to a finish. North Carolina, her faithful 
daughter, loves to honor and cherish her Alma Mater. As 
Virginia, so were all the Southern States — brothers all stand- 
ing shoulder to shoulder in a common cause. 

History of Co. F. 

a list of the officers and men of company f, fifty- 
sixth regiment n. c. t., c. s. army, with a sketch of 
its service from spring of 1862 to 1865. 

This was one of the last companies raised in Cleveland 
County, and was composed three-fourths of married men. I 
joined the company as a recruit, 17th of August, 1863, at 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 9 

Halifax, N. C, and was with it constantly in all its service 
except from the 28th of July, 1864, to the 15th of October, 
1864, when I was away at hospital and on sick furlough. It 
was organized into the Fifty-sixth Regiment at Camp Man- 
gum, near Raleigh, when its Captain, H. F. Schenck, was 
elected Major, and B. F. Grigg was elected Captain. Cap- 
tain Grrigg was First Sergeant, and having served six months 
with First ]^. C. Regiment, and having participated in the 
first battle of the war at Big Bethel, Va., and being a good 
drill master, naturally succeeded Major Schenck as Ca23tain. 
Lieutenants, Dr. V. J. Palmer, Dick Williams, Alfred Grigg 
(after Williams was killed) ; an Irishman by the name of Purse 
served as Third Lieutenant for a while. Sergeants, A. J. 
London, Frank M. Stockton, William London, Pink Shuford, 
Rufus Gardner, Hezekiah Dedmon. Corporals, T. Jefferson 
Hord, Thomas J. Dixon, Benjamin A. Jenkins, Lawson A. 
Bridges, Graham Wilson. 

PRIVATES. 

Those still living at this date (June, 1906,) marked by 
an *. 

*Allen, Rufus ; Allen, William ; *Beam, Joseph ; Blanton, 
Arthur ; *Blanton, Frank ; Barnett, W. Riley ; Beaver, Da- 
vid ; Bookout, Silas ; Bookout, Marmaduke ; Bedford, James ; 
*Blanton, William ; Chitwood, J. Marshall ; Cabiness, Thos. 
P. ; *Crowder, Spencer A. ; *Crowder, Mike ; Crowder, Jo- 
seph ; *Crowder, John ; Carter, John ; *Carter, W. Jackson ; 
Cogdall, Allen; *Cogdall, Adney; *Cogdall, Perry; Chit- 
wood, William ; Davis, Thomas ; Davis, J. Pinkney ; Daugh- 
erty, Samuel ; *Elliott, James C. ; Eskridge, Simeon ; Eaker, 
Jesse ; Finch, James ; *Fortenbury, Mark ; *Fortenbury, 
Anglis ; *Gantt, Hey ; Gibson, Oliver P. ; Gaines, Barlet ; 
Green, William ; Glodden, Hosea ; *Grigg, John ; Grigg, T. 
Goode ; *Grigg, Levi ; Hoard, Sabert ; *Hasten, Samuel ; 
^Hasten, William; *Hasten, Frank; Haynes, Mijamon; 
Hamy, Judson ; Justice, Lewis ; Jones, Starlin ; Kirby, Mon- 



10 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

roe ; Kennedy, Alexander ; Ledford, McKee ; Ledford, John ; 
Louis, Peter ; *Lutz, Luther ; Lutz, Frank ; Lucas, Christo- 
pher; London, Thomas; London, Anonymous; London, Sid- 
ney ; London, John ; Moore, Spencer ; Moore, Asbury ; *Mc- 
Murry, Bartlett; Michael, Luther; Maynard, a South Caro- 
linian ; *]^owlin, Anderson ; Nowlin, John H. ; Nowlin, Thos. 
L. ; ISTewton, Big Son ; N"ewton ; l^ewton. Little Son ; ISTor- 
man, James ; Powell, James S. ; Powell, James ; *Powell, 
Isaac ; Powell, Christopher ; Price, Peter ; *Peeler, David ; 
*Peeler, James ; Phillips, ISToah ; Pryor, Pinkney ; Philbek, 
David ; *Randall, Isaac ; Richards, Wesley ; Revels, Wesley ; 
Sanders, Griffin; Sparks, Albert; Smith, Elijah; Smith, J. 
Marcus ; *Spurlin, Jefferson ; Spangler, Johnson ; *Suttle, 
D. B. F. ; Thompson, George ; *Teseneer, John A. ; *Wolfe, 
W. Cathy ; Webb, John ; Webb, Frank ; Wesson, Dobbins ; 
*Weathers,- Sidney ; Weathers, Albert; Wellmon, William; 
White, Moses ; *Wright, Sanders ; Wright, Winslow ; Wright, 
Riley. 

Making in all 135 men and officers, with probably a few 
more that died before I joined the company. John H. Now- 
lin had served three years in a Mississippi regiment before he 
was transferred to Company F, and he had been wounded 
twice. O. P. Gibson was transferred to Forty-ninth Regi- 
ment, and was severely wounded. Isaac Randall exchanged 
with Maynard, and went to a South Carolina regiment, and 
was in the regiment blown up at the Crater. Christopher 
Powell was transferred from Thirty-eighth Regiment. Wil- 
liam Blanton was company commissary. He was elected 
Lieutenant in Captain David Magness' company, Thirty- 
eighth Regiment, and transferred. George Thompson was 
then company commissary. Dobbins Wesson was regiment 
mail boy, then Rufus W. Gardner took his place. William 
Green shot and killed himself while hunting deserters. David 
Philbeck was the first man to die ; he died of measles. Ben. 
A. Jenkins was the last man to die ; he died in Point Lookout 
prison. 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 11 

The Fifty-sixth Regiment ]^. C. Troops served under Gen- 
erals Bob Ransom, Martin Pryor, and then imder Brig- 
Gen. Matt. W. Ransom, with Twenty-fourth, Twenty-fifth, 
Thirty-fifth and Forty-ninth Regiments ]^. C. Troops. For 
more than a year the Fifty-sixth operated on the line from 
Petersburg, Va., to Wilmington, 'N. C, in protecting that 
railroad and coast country. In the spring of 1863, the 
Fifty-sixth was deployed on picket duty in Gum Swamp, be- 
low Kinston ; the Federals cut it off and attempted its capture. 
Aftter some resistance by several companies, they all took to 
the swamp and escaped, losing a few captured, and field offi- 
cers losing their horses. Company F was detached, and got 
away in good order. This little escapade was the source of 
much merriment with the other regiments, who "poked" much 
fun at the Fifty-sixth for running at Gum Swamp. 

The Fifty-sixth represented all sections of ]^orth Carolina, 
as follows: Co. A, Captain Hughes, Pasquotank County; 
Co. B, Captain Roberts, Robeson County ; Co. C, Captain 
White, Currituck County; Co. D, Captain Graham, Orange 
County ; Co, E, Captain Lockhart, Northampton County ; 
Co. F, Captain Grigg, Cleveland County; Co. G, Captain 
Lanemills, Henderson County; Co. H, Captain Graves, Alex- 
ander County; Co. I, Captain Harrell, Rutherford County; 
Co. K, Captain Alexander, Mecklenburg County. 

About the 1st of September, 1863, the Fifty-sixth Regi- 
ment, except Companys B and E, were detained to assist the 
Home Guards to arrest deserters and conscripts, and for five 
months operated in the counties of Randolph, Davidson, 
Moore, Montgomery, Chatham, Wilkes, Watauga, Ashe and 
Alleghany. During this time we arrested and sent two thou- 
sand men to the front that the militia were unable to manage, 
killing and wounding thirty-five in making these arrests. 
During the last two months of this service Company F fur- 
nished a provost guard of eighteen men, commanded by Ser- 
geant F. M. Stockton, at regiment headquarters, Ashboro, 
iN". C. About the 20th of January, 1864, the regiment gath- 



12 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

ered in camp at High Point, N. C, and drilled ten days, and 
then joined General Pickett's command of six brigades — 
Hoke's, Eansom's and Clingman's IST. C. Brigades, Barton's, 
Kemper's and Corse's Virginia Brigades. All met at Kin- 
ston, ]Sr. C, on the 30th of January, 1864, and made an expe- 
dition against 'New Bern, accompanied by a regiment of 
cavalry. First N. C, under Colonel Hearing, and several 
batteries of artillery. Set out 31st of January, and struck 
the enemy at Core Creek on Heep Gully at 3 a. m. on the 
first day of February, 1864. The Fifty-sixth was with 
Corse's Brigade. Hoke's Brigade made the attack on the 
fortified position, supported directly by Corse's Brigade. 
Some of the forts and block houses were flanked, and the 
fighting was continuous until 9 a. m., when all positions were 
taken and the enemy in full flight for New Bern. We got 
all their camp equippage, five hundred prisoners, four pieces 
of artillery, commissary and quartermaster supplies, and 
pursued them ten miles to New Bern, invested the town, and 
skirmished around for thirty-six hours, then fell back. While 
on the skirmish line at 1 a. m., 2d February, we saw a Fed- 
eral gunboat blown up. Our naval forces had gone down 
ISTeuse River in open boats and surprised and captured this 
vessel, and after taking the prisoners off, blew it up. The 
enemy were ready to evacuate as soon as we should make the 
assault, but from some misunderstanding of orders the attack 
was not made, and General Barton was afterwards court- 
martialed and acquitted. 

We came back to Kinston and hanged twenty-five of thoae 
prisoners who were found to be deserters from our army. 
Then we went to Weldon and put up winter quarters where 
we had been in camp the summer before. About the 14th of 
February, a detail was made of twenty-five men from Com- 
pany F and twenty-five men from Company K, under com- 
mand of Captain Grigg and Lieutenant Shepherd, to help 
move the Federal prisoners from Richmond, Va., to Ander- 
sonville, Ga. We were on this service until 26th of March. 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 13 

These prisoners were in a pitiable plight and infected with 
small-pox. William Allen and Pink Prjor caught it from 
them; don't see why we all did not. During this time or 
early in March the Brigade made an expedition against Suf- 
folk, Va., and after a running fight with negro cavalry, took 
that town, but did not hold it long. Capt. Cicero Durham, 
in command of a skirmish line, drove all before him and 
charged into the cavalry line and single-handed cut down 
several men with his own hand. Gilbert Green, of Capt. 
Jud. Magness' company, was killed in the town, fired upon 
by some negro troops from a house. The house was fired, and 
when the negroes jumped out they were shot down. Green 
was the only man we lost. 

On the 14th of April, 1864, we were under light marching- 
orders to leave our knapsacks and carry one blanket. The 
men were all in fine condition, and of Compaany F, one hun- 
dred answered roll-call and set out on the expedition for 
Plymouth, I^. C, under Gen. R. F. Hoke. The forces con- 
sisted of Hoke's and Ransom's ^N". C. and Kemper's Virginia 
brigades, First IvT. C. Cavalry Regiment, and several bat- 
teries of field artillery. We went by rail to Tarboro, and on 
the 15th set out for Plymouth, 65 miles distant, or three 
days' marching. We arrived at Plymouth Sunday n^ornmg , 
17th. The cavalry rushed forward and picked up first picket 
posts, followed by infantry. As they brought prisoners back, 
we noticed one horse shot in the nose, and a little further on 
a dead Yankee in the road. 

General Hoke sent a truce flag and demanded the surrender 
of the post. General Wissils, in command, indignantly re- 
plied, "Take it." General Hoke replied, "Remove all non- 
combatants within twenty-four hours." We threw up earth- 
works that night. !Next day sharp skirmishing took place 
until the twenty-four hours had expired, then a heavy skir- 
mish line was thrown forward and all the enemy driven 
inside their defenses ; then thirty pieces of artillery were 
brought into position and we began to shell the town. The 



14: THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

enemy replied with great spirit, and a terrible duel raged 
from near sunset until 10 p. m. We were in front of our 
guns, lying flat, while the shot and shells from both sides 
hissed, whizzed and bursted over us. While we were en- 
gaged with the main fortifications, Hoke's Brigade was tak- 
ing a detached fort up the river by direct assault. 

In addition to the land batteries, the gunboats in the river 
were hurling huge shells at us. The next day, Tuesday eve- 
ning, Ransom's Brigade worked its way around east of the 
town and, after a sharp skirmish fight, drove the Yankee 
pickets away from a deep creek, where we put in a pontoon 
bridge and crossed over and took position after dark under 
a picket and artillery fire. Here we formed for the final 
attack. The firing soon ceased, as we did not reply, and we 
lay in line of battle and got a good night's sleep. At first 
dawn of day we were standing in line in the following order ; 
Twenty-fifth on the right next to the river. Fifty-sixth next, 
Eighth (from Clingman's Brigade, which was with us in 
place of Forty-ninth) in center, then Twenty-fourth and 
Thirty-fifth on the left, the field ofiicers walking up and down 
the line quietly talking to the men. ''N'orth Carolina expects 
every man to do his duty. Pay close attention to orders, 
keep closed up, and press forward all the time. The sooner 
we can get into the town the better for us." 

Hoke's and Kemper's brigades were on the west side. They 
fired the signal guns, advanced their picket lines as if they 
were going to assault from that side, while we quietly moved 
forward and covered half the distance before the fire was 
opened upon us. Then began the shower of shot and shell. 
The two regiments on the right soon struck their cattle lot, 
and we had a drove of cattle in front of us, but coming to a 
lagoon and swamp we had to let the cattle pass back through 
our line. Then through water and slush four feet deep we 
made our way through the swamp and re-formed under cover 
of a little hill. The three regiments on our left passed 
around the swamp. We then raised a yell and rushed for- 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 15 

ward upon the intrenchments and were soon in possession of 
them, the Yankees falling back and taking shelter behind the 
buildings, kept up a steady fire upon us as we advanced rap- 
idly. Our field artillery soon came in and opened fire, while 
the Twenty-fifth swept along the river and captured a fort, 
and the other regiments drove the balance of the enemy into 
the big Fort Williamson, on the south side of the fortifica- 
tions. The Fifty-sixth split into three sections. Maj. John 
W. Graham advanced the center faster than the wings and 
soon planted our flag on the west fortifications. This was a 
signal for Hoke's and Kemper's brigades to come in from that 
side. On Monday night of the first attack, at midnight, our 
ironclad gunboat, Albemarle, came down the river and cleared 
it of all the Yankee shipping, sinking and running off all 
their gunboats. The Albemarle was firing into Fort William- 
son. General Hoke demanded the surrender of this fort, but 
General Wessel was slow in giving answer. When General 
Hoke began to form his Brigade to assault it, the Stars and 
Stripes were hauled down and a white flag raised. After 
three hours of hard fighting, the town with entire garrison, 
consisting of two fine New York and two Pennsylvania in- 
fantry regiments, with cavalry and strong artillery force, and 
besides the killed and wounded, 2,800 prisoners. The post 
was strongly fortified and well supplied with military stores 
and much mercantile goods. As soon as the surrender was 
made, all our troops were turned loose to help themselves to 
anything they wished — grocery and dry goods stores richly 
stocked to select from. Being more than sixty miles from a 
railroad, and the enemy still close by at Roanoke Island and 
Washington, we could only supply immediate needs. We 
were marched out of town that evening. 

ISTearly all the loss was in Ransom's Brigade, which num- 
bered about six hundred killed and wounded. The Fifty- 
sixth lost ninety men. Company F — John Webb, shot 
through the breast; Peter Price, through the lungs; Hosea 
Gladden, in bowels, and died; Anderson ISTolan, Allen Cog- 



16 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

dall, Adney Cogdall and William Chitwood were all severely 
wounded ; Thomas Cabiness and several others wounded. 
Dr. Lieut. V. J. Palmer was very seriously wounded by hav- 
ing back of thigh cut with piece of shell. 

After resting until the 25th of April, we struck out for 
Washington, N. C. Thirty-five miles march brought us there 
on the 27th at 10 a. m. The enemy's pickets were driven in 
and we skirmished around there and were shelled from gun- 
boats until morning of the 29th, when the town was evacu- 
ated. Leaving the Sixth Regiment of Hoke's Brigade to 
garrison it, we moved via Greenville and Snow Hill, crossing 
I^euse River below Kinston on a pontoon bridge that we car- 
ried with us, on to New Bern, crossing Trent River on our 
pontoon, and going down south side of Trent River, struck 
the Beaufort railroad, capturing a cavalry picket post of 
seventy-five men. We laid siege to New Bern and were soon 
under heavy shelling from the Yankee gunboats. Barton's 
Virginia Brigade had joined us below Kinston. 

After reconnoitering and getting into position twenty-four 
hours for attack. General Hoke got orders at noon, 7th of 
May, 1864, to hasten to the relief of Petersburg, Va., that 
General Butler had landed at City Point with a force of 
forty thousand, while General Grant was pressing General 
Lee with overwhelming force through the Wilderness battles. 
Raising the siege of New Bern, we marched back to Kinston, 
arriving there the 9th at 8 a. m., where we found trains ready 
to transport us to Virginia. At 1 p. m. we arrived where 
Butler's cavalry had cut the railroad between Weldon and 
Petersburg and were burning bridges and depots and tearing 
up the road to cut us off. We (Ransom's Brigade) followed 
close after them all that evening until after midnight, when 
they left the railroad after tearing up and destroying twenty 
miles of the road. Here we rested until 8 a .m.. May 10th, 
when trains came out from Petersburg after us. Boarding 
the cars with loaded guns, we arrived in Petersburg at 11 
a. m. As soon as our train rolled in we could hear the pop- 



THE SOUTHEKN SOLDIER BOY. 17 

ping of musketry on suburbs, and the greatest excitement 
prevailed. The citizens, women and children, turned out to 
greet us. Beautiful ladies showered bouquets of flowers upon 
us as we marched the streets, with such exclamations as, "We 
are safe now. These are the brave ISTorth Carolinians who 
have driven the enemy from their own State and have come 
to defend us. These are the brave boys that took Ply- 
mouth," etc. We were marched down the Popular Lawn 
Hospital grounds to a gushing rock spring, beautiful shade 
trees and green grass, where we rested until next morning. 
As soon as we were settled the white ladies and colored 
aunties began to pour in upon us with great baskets of every- 
thing good to eat and gave us a bountiful feast. Early next 
morning we moved out and took the Turnpike road towards 
Richmond, leisurely marching all day while our cavalry were 
rubbing against the enemy on our right with frequent brisk 
skirmishes. Out a few miles from Petersburg we passed 
over the ground where Hagood's Florida Brigade had checked 
the enemy's advance from that quarter a few days before. 
The thickets were shattered and remnants of equipments were 
scattered about, and the bloody places where many had fallen 
were still visible. Arriving near Drury's Bluff, we lay down 
to sleep in line of battle beside the Turnpike, facing east. 
About 2 a. m. the rain falling in our faces woke us, and soon 
our pickets close by commenced firing. We retained our 
position until day. Then we moved out on a country road 
to the right and coming to a turnpike turned into a wheat 
field at a farm house and formed line of battle in a pouring 
rain. Two good companies were taken from each of our five 
regiments and deployed as skirmishers under the command of 
Capt. Cicero Durham. They did not get out of our sight 
until they opened fire on the enemy. We then marched a 
mile east of Turnpike and occupied a good line of earthworks 
while heavy skirmish fighting was kept up all day. Com- 
panys G and I of the Pifty-sixth were on the firing line. 
Captain Durham made the enemy think we were anxious for 
2 



18 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 



a fight. He would charge and drive their skirmishers back 
on their battle lines and then fall back, and as soon as they 
advanced, charge and drive them back again, picking up some 
prisoners every time. Thus it went on all day, while the 
rain fell in continuous showers. 

l^ext morning, 13th, all was quiet on the lines. In the 
afternoon we, the Thirty-fifth, Forty-ninth and Fifty-sixth, 
moved west of Turnpike and, crossing the railroad, occupied 
some earthworks on a commanding position. The lines ran 
west then southwest. A nice dwelling stood back of the 
corner. Generals Hoke and Kansom had dismounted and 
gone into the house. The Forty-ninth on right. Thirty-fifth 
center, Fifty-sixth on left. We were stretched out single 
file to cover the ground. The enemy was drawing our atten- 
tion down the railroad towards Petersburg by firing some 
shells at us, all of which were falling a little short. We were 
m fine spirits, hoping to see the enemy advance to the open 
m front, but it had been discovered that the enemy had out- 
aanked us and a force gone around. Captain Durham was 
deploying his skirmishers in a small field near the house and 
in our rear. Company H of Fifty-sixth was sent on the 
skirmish line. Colonel Faison, of Fifty-sixth, was out there, 
and sent orders to Captain Grigg for eighteen men. I went 
with them, and we lined up with Company H. Just back 
of the field was a dense pine thicket. Colonel Faison said: 
"They don't need you ; you Company F men can go back to 
your company," and he walked back with us. Then the 
Yankees massed in that pine thicket, ran up to the fence and 
poured a volley into us. Generals Hoke and Ransom mount- 
ed their horses and came over the earthworks through Com- 
pany F. Ransom, seeing a part of the Fifty-sixth on turn 
or angle would be exposed to an enfilading or flank fire, said : 
"Colonel Faison, take your regiment down and form on the 
railroad." Colonel Faison said, "Major Graham, take those 
three companies on the left we had about-faced down and 
form on railroad." Company F went with Major Graham, 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 19 

while Colonel Faison kept the other seven companies there 
and helped to repulse the Yankees until all could get out. 
The Twentj-fourth and Twenty-fifth were nearby, and came 
to the railroad and we formed with them. Captain Durham 
followed us and was taken off his horse in Company F. One 
arm was broken and he was shot in the side. His arm was 
amputated and he died in a few days. Thus ended the career 
of one of Cleveland County's bravest boys that did battle for 
that cause. A battalion of picked men was being organized 
for him to do all the sharp-shooting and skirmishing for the 
brigade. 

Our company, H, had not deployed, and one over half was 
shot do^vn. We privates all thought had Colonel Faison 
obeyed Ransom's order to take his regiment out. Thirty-fifth 
and Forty-ninth would have been captured. As soon as they 
could stand the Yankees off, they came to the railroad, and 
we all went up the railroad to the next line of defense, aban- 
doning that line. The Yankees followed us up and fortified 
a position, and kept up a fire on us all day and night during 
14th and 15th. General Ransom was wounded in the arm 
about 9 a. m. on 15th, standing in rear of Company F, ex- 
posing himself, I thought, unnecessarily, in company with 
some other ofiicer. I was looking at him and expecting it 
when he was hit. Beauregard had now come up from Charles- 
ton and gathered up eighteen or twenty thousand men. Tra- 
dition says Jeff Davis told Beauregard to drive Butler away 
from there ; Beauregard said he could not take the responsi- 
bility with the force he had. 

Jeff Davis told Beauregard to drive Butler away from 
there. Beauregard said he could not take the responsibility 
with the force he had. Jeff Davis : "I will take the respon- 
sibility." Beauregard : "All right, then I'll do the fighting." 
On the night of the 14th and 15th of May our Company F 
was ordered ou:t in the open field in front of our breastworks 
on picket or vidette duty, and lay all night in the open field 
under fire from the enemy's sharpshooters. 



20 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

We did not return the fire, or they would have killed us all. 
As it was, thej could only guess at our position in the dark. 
The bullets were striking the ground around us with a noise 
as if they were as large as goose eggs. Mike Crowder was 
severely wounded while we were taking position. 

On Monday morning, 16th of May, a very dark, foggy 
morning, Hoke's division, I think, with Barton's Virginia 
Brigade leading the charge, assaulted Butler's right next the 
river, breaking his strongly fortified line and capturing two 
thousand prisoners the first dash. Then pressing his broken 
flank with a strong force and throwing regiment after regi- 
ment against his front, carried the entire line by 10 a. m. 
Ransom's Brigade, commanded by Col. Leroy McAfee, made 
a front attack west side of Turnpike road, Twenty-fourth, 
Twenty-fifth and Forty-ninth leading, supported by Thirty- 
fifth and Fifty-sixth regiments. When our regiment got in 
the enemy's earthworks their whole line was falling back. 
James S. Powell and W. Cathey Wolfe, Company F, were 
wounded. We saw President Davis and General Beauregard 
together on the field. 

Our loss was three thousand killed and wounded. The 
Turnpike road, over which the wounded were carried, was 
drenched with blood. The Yankee loss was five thousand 
killed, wounded and captured. Butler fell back to Bermuda 
Hundreds, under cover of his gunboats. General Hoke took 
his old brigade, Clingman's JSTorth Carolina, Barton's, Kem- 
per's and Corse's Virginia brigades and hastened to General 
Lee at Cold Harbor, leaving Ransom's I^orth Carolina, 
Grace's Alabama, Walker's South Carolina, and Wise's Vir- 
ginia brigades to look after Butler. These were put in com- 
mand of Gen. Bushrod Johnson, and remained as Johnson's 
Division until the close of the war. 

ISText day we followed Butler and fortified a position close 
to him and where we were shelled from his gunboats. We 
extended our picket line to within a few hundred yards of 
Butler's. On the morning of the 20th of May we got orders 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIEK BOY. 21 

to wash our shirts. We had left our knapsacks at Weldon, 
N". C, on the 14th of April, and had had four weeks of stren- 
uous campaign in l^orth Carolina and two weeks in Virginia. 
Six weeks without a chance to wash or change our shirts, and 
now we had no vessels to warm water, so the only chance was 
to wash in a small creek. Our shirts from sweat and grime 
had gotten so dirtj and stiif they would almost stand upright. 
Shirts were washed and hung on bushes to dry, but before all 
got dry, or at 1 p. m., we were ordered to fall into line for 
another battle. We wanted Butler's picket line for our line 
to crowd him closer and fortify our picket line. Both picket 
lines had rifle j)its and were hard to take at best. The 
Thirty-fifth and Fifty-sixth were ordered to take the picket 
line in front of our brigade. The Thirty-fifth deployed and 
charged forward, followed by Fifty-sixth in line of battle. 
The Thirty-fifth was driven back, and Fifty-sixth charged up 
and found a strong line of battle in the rifle pits. When we 
got in forty or fifty yards of them we were ordered to fire, 
lay down, load, shoot. When we had fired five rounds under 
a terrible hail of bullets at so close range, some one said, 
"They are flanking us." Then the order to retreat. We 
were in an old pine field with some undergrowth of oak 
bushes, while the Yankee line was on the edge of a dense 
wood. We fell back and rallied when some regiments of 
Walker's South Carolina Brigade came in on our right and 
with a yell charged on the Yankees, who were advancing on 
us. The Twoafy -sixth lined up with them and helped to 
drive the Yankees back to their line of rifle pits. Our line 
lay down and kept up our fire on them until our ammunition 
was pretty well spent. The Fifty-sixth had ninety-six killed 
and wounded. Company F lost four killed and nine severely 
wounded and several slightly wounded. Our killed were left 
where they fell and were buried by the enemy. They were 
Second Lieutenant Dick Williams, a brave soldier and a man 
loved by all his company; privates Thomas P. Cabanis^, 
Christopher Powell and Winslow Wright, all good soldiers. 



22 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

Powell and Cabaniss were single men. Cabaniss was killed 
by my side, and my left cheek was blistered by a hot bullet. 
Frank Webb and J. M. Smith died of their wounds. Jeffei- 
son Spurlin lost a leg and Johnson Spangler lost an arm. 
Sam. Daugherty, Peter Louis, Morman Bookout, B. Mc- 
Murry and Monroe Kirby were all severely wounded. Thai 
night we fortified our picket line, and General Walker recoif 
noitering his position was wounded and captured. We wei. 
so close to them that firing was kept up all night and for 
several days following. On the evening of the 2 2d a truce 
was had to bury some dead between the lines. And tlie 
graves of our dead were visited. A few days after this a 
skirmish line from our brigade charged and took this Yankee 
skirmish line which had cost us so much on the 20th of May. 
Here we lay in the burnt woods, within a few hundred yards 
of the enemy, firing and shelling every day until the 1st of 
June. Our brigade crossed James River on a pontoon bridge 
and passed through the Seven Pines battle ground to the 
Chickahominy River, where we spent a few days in sight of 
the enemy's position on the north side, the picket of each 
making the river the line. We then came up to Chafin's 
farm or bluff and sj^ent about a week, until the night of 15th 
of June. We marched all night to Petersburg, Va. 

Grant had now advanced the head of his column, and our 
little force of four brigades must hold him in check until Lee 
could come. So we had to vacate our lines between the 
Appomattox and James rivers and throw our main forces in 
defense of Petersburg, where we arrived at sunrise. The 
Fifty-sixth was sent up the north side of the Appomattox to 
guard the cotton factories from a cavalry raid, while the 
other four regiments went to the front and were fighting all 
day. During the day Butler's forces destroyed the railroad 
between Petersburg and Drury's Bluff. After dark we joined 
the brigade on the Turnpike and started back toward Drury's 
Bluff. We only went a few miles, feeling for the Yankees, 
but were kept on foot nearly all night. 'Next morning, 17th, 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 23 

some flat cars came after us and landed us in Petersburg, and 
we hurried to the front. Grant had taken some of the out- 
side lines, and we formed a line in a corn field and threw up 
breastworks under shelling and picket fire. While fortify- 
ing our line, Joseph Crowder was killed and James Bedford 
and Simon Eskridge were mortally wounded. About 2 p. m. 
Grant began to assault our line next to the river on our left, 
and kept it up for a long time. Our boys would yell when 
they would drive them back and pass the word along the line, 
"Repulsed with great loss ; hold your position at all hazards ; 
Lee's army will be here at 10 to-night." Kear sunset they 
took the position held by Wise's Brigade. We were under 
moving orders at once, and a little after dark the Thirty-fifth 
and Fifty-sixth, and probably some of our other regiments, 
joined Grace's Alabama Brigade to retake the lost ground. 
The full moon was an hour or two high. After a quick but 
desperate struggle the line was retaken, to be abandoned next 
morning. All our historians give the Alabamians all the 
credit and none mention the ISTorth Carolinians. In the 
night and through the woods I thought at the time all our 
brigade was there. I know the Thirty-fifth was next to us 
and sustained heavy loss. About 2 a. m. we fell back to a 
new and last position in front of Cemetery Hill, now known 
as the Crater, leaving a strong skirmish line with orders to 
hold as long as they could and to fall back as slowly as possi- 
ble. This was to enable us to fortify another line which had 
only been staked off the day before. 

At daybreak on the 18th we were standing in single file, 
half line of battle, when we heard Grant's massive columns 
charge on our skirmishers and take the last ditch between 
them and Petersburg. Our artillery was all in position on 
our last line. Lee's army had not come, and Grant only had 
a half line of tired and worn-out soldiers in his front, stand- 
ing in open field between him and Petersburg. The Fifty- 
sixth in the night battle was on the left flank, and did not 
suffer like the other regiments. Of Company F, ISToah Phil- 
lips, was killed, Spencer Moore and Wesley Revels captured. 



24 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

When the enemy got those earthworks, we expected them 
on us at once. Having only seven or eight tools to the com- 
pany, we fell to work with our bayonets to make a hole to 
squat in. We had bluffed them so the night before that they 
thought Lee had arrived, and waited several hours before 
they drove in our brave skirmishers that held them in a wood 
until we had a good ditch. Though we had had but little 
sleep and rest for three days and nights, we moved dirt in a 
hurry. We occupied a most commanding position. Fifty- 
sixth covered the ground now known as the Crater. Some 
branches, broad fields, with some skirts of woods lay in front 
of us. About 10 a. m. our skirmishers were driven in after 
an heroic resistance. Then the long blue lines came gleaming 
on. The officers galloping over the field, while battery after 
battery were taking position under the fire of our artillery and 
opening fire on us. Then to our left, winding down a ravine, 
we saw Longstreet's column coming in, and soon came crowd- 
ing up our ditch Anderson's Division, South Carolinians and 
Georgians. Most of these regiments were very short, and I 
was eager to note what these battle-scarred veterans who had 
just been fighting for a month through the Wilderness thought 
of the situation. Tired from an all-night's march, but as 
soon as they got in position they stripped blankets and piling 
handfuls of cartridges on the breastworks got up on the para- 
pet, took a look in front and said, ''This is a good j^lace ; we 
would like for them to come on ten lines deep, so we won't 
waste any lead." Then they quietly sat do^vn. We were 
now too much crowded, and our regiment was ordered out and 
I was ordered to help carry some boxes of ammunition that 
belonged to our company. The Fifty-sixth started back in a 
run across a broad field under heavy fire. Longstreet's men 
objected to our taking the ammunition, and while we were 
parleying about it, Captain Gee, of Ransom's staff, came 
along and I called his attention to it, and he said, "Oh, leave 
it here, those men may need it." We were now left and 
started around to go up the ravine and came up with Lieuten- 



THE SOUTHEKN SOLDIEK BOY. 25 

ant Davis, of Company G, Fifty-sixth, who said: "Fifty- 
sixth is just ordered back to rest. A part of the companies 
on the right of the battery (at Crater) are still here. The 
Yankees had opened such a heavy fire they would not try to 
get out. There is going to be an interesting time here, and I 
want to see it out. If you will stay with me I will take care 
of you." Six or seven of his company were with him. Soon 
Sergt. Wm. London and Isaac Randall of Company F joined 
us. Peter Price, who had been shot through the lung at 
Plymouth, was wounded in the thigh as they fell back, and 
Mayor Graham was wounded in the arm. We were now 
about one hundred and fifty yards to the left of the Crater 
battery. At about 1 p. m. three lines of battle made a des- 
perate effort to break our lines on the right. We could see 
them form an advance like they were on dress parade, raise 
their cheer and rush close to our line ; then our volleys would 
knock them into confusion. In the meantime they were 
bringing line after line down to the branch in our front, 
where they could find cover under the hill. We would let 
them get about midway in a field, then we could get about 
two rounds into them before they got under cover. Soon 
they began to charge us from this close quarter, but two or 
three rounds would drive them back under cover shelter. 
Finally they crawled up the side of a hill and massed seven 
flags within two hundred yards of us, and lay there until 
night. The heavy firing of musketry and artillery lasted 
until midnight before we could get out. Captain Roberts, of 
Company B, Fifty-sixth, had his head shot off. One tall, 
dark-eyed South Carolinian was shot in the head and killed 
by my side. He was a brave man, taking deliberate aim every 
shot. One other man was wounded close to me. 

A. P. Hill's corps got to Petersburg at night of 18th. l!^ext 
morning Jesse Lattimore, of Company F, Thirty-fourth ]!T. C. 
Regiment, visited us, and was still in good spirits of whipping 
the Yankees. We told him they hadn't brought men enough 
with them and their regiments were too small. After rest- 



26 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 



ing twenty-four hours we moved right and worked on some 
fortifications. 

On the evening of 24th of June, Wilcox's Division attacked 
Grant's left, supported by our brigade and a part of Johnson's 
division. It was called the battle of Huckleberry Swamp. 
The enemy was strongly entrenched, and we fell back after 
dark. We were only slightly under fire. We recalled that 
Lafayette Beam, of Capt. David Magness' company, Thirty- 
eighth Eegiment, was killed that evening. We occupied 
Scales Brigade camp, and about midnight they came in on us 
and we all lay and slept until late next morning. 

The next night we took position on the branch to the left 
of the Crater. We had always felt pretty safe in the earth- 
works until here Grant began to shell us with mortars, throw- 
ing huge shells up to fall on us or to burst over us and the 
fragments rain upon us ; so now began the most serious time 
when we could not get rest day nor night except under inces- 
sant fire. The left of our brigade rested on the l^orfolk 
railroad, and we held this position in the open fields under a 
July sun for six weeks, the regiments changing position every 
week. Our food was miserable — musty meal and rancid 
^Nassau bacon. Our bread was cooked at the wagon yard on 
canal, west side of Petersburg. When the bread had been 
cooked twelve hours it would pull out like spider-webs. We 
were on picket or fatigue duty nearly every night. One- 
third had to stand to arms all the time, and from 2 :30 a. m. 
all had to stand to arms until sunrise. The two lines were 
on an average five hundred yards apart. 

On the 11th of July, while working on a covered way to the 
rear, I was wounded in the left arm above the elbow, the ball 
grazing and bruising the inside of the arm. I was disabled 
and sent back to field hospital for a few days, during which 
time I caught measles. Then after a week in the trenches I 
was sent back to the hospital at Richmond. The men were 
now breaking down faster under the awful strain and bad 
fare; many were taking typhoid fever, and nearly all had 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 27 

dysentery. A train load of sick and wounded were being 
shipped to Richmond every day. 

I left on the 28th of July. It was known that the Yankees 
were undermining our works, and we were tunneling all 
around to meet them, but our tunnel at the Crater missed 
them about fifty feet. On the 30th the Crater was exploded 
under Elliott's South Carolina Brigade, formerly Walker's, 
on our right. I shall not attempt a description of that mem- 
orable event farther than to say Ransom's Brigade, com- 
manded by Colonel Rutledge of Twenty-fifth, held its posi- 
tion and heljied to retake the lost ground, though none of our 
historians seem to be advised of that fact. Up to this time. 
Lieutenant Grigg, Perry Ross, Arthur Blanton and Alexander 
Kennedy had been wounded, and soon after Starlin Jones 
was mortally wounded. When I convalesced I found John 
Carter and Dobbins Wesson in the same ward with typhoid 
fever, and I went to see them every day. One evening when 
I called. Carter said he was glad to see me, that he wanted to 
talk with me, for he was going to die. I tried to encourage 
him, but he said he could not live long. He said he was not 
afraid to die, that he had always tried to live right, and that 
it was a great consolation that he had never done anything 
that would reflect on his people left behind. Thus, before 
the rising of another sun, a good and true man passed to his 
reward. A few days after when I visited Wesson he told me 
that he was in great trouble, that his wife had quit writing to 
him, etc. I tried to encourage him, when the ward master 
beckoned to me and said, "You need not pay any attention to 
him. He is delirious and don't know what he is talking 
about. He jumped out of the window and we had to catch 
him and bring him back. If you know his people you can 
write them that he will not live until to-morrow morning." 
I wrote them to that effect. He was a brave and faithful 
soldier and loved by his comrades. 

Of the twenty-five of Company F that died that summer 
of sickness, I will mention four of my mess, who were all 



28 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

good and true soldiers and participated in all the battles up to 
squat. Thomas Davis, Riley Barnett, John Ledford and 
Thomas L. Nowlin. While I was away, Ransom's Brigade 
was in the battle of Ream's Station on Weldon railroad, in 
August, and Louis Justice and Migamon Haynes were killed. 
Sergt. F. M. Stockton, Luther Lutz and William Chitwood, 
and probably others, were wounded, 

I got back to the company the 15th of October, after a 
sixty-days furlough, and found our brigade resting left of 
Appomattox River. Here we remained through the long, 
hard winter, under fire day and night. During this time 
Lieutenant Purse was wounded, also Wesley Richards and 
Sergeant William London mortally wounded. I can not see 
how we escaped so well, but we learned to lay low, dig holes 
and contrive bomb-proofs. Then Spencer Crowder used to 
say that we had Uncle Johnnie London to pray for usr, 
Spencer tried to quit swearing, and we thought he had suc- 
ceeded, but the last battle we were in he cursed the Yankees 
as bad as ever. We fortified our position and had portholes 
for our sharpshooters made of sand bangs and iron plates. 
Besides the hard fare, we suffered for want of fuel. Our 
company only got eight or ten sticks of green pine wood per 
day most of the time. During the winter we got coffee and 
some canned beef, which helped us greatly. Governor Vance 
tried to give us a Christmas dinner, but it was only a quart 
of little Irish potatoes. Our wages were raised from $11 to 
$15 per month, but they quit paying us at all and owed us 
for three or four months at the close. The following prices 
prevailed: Bacon, $10 lb.; pork and beef, $5 lb.; peas, $1 
qt. ; corn meal, $1.25 qt. ; rice, $1 lb. ; salt, $1 ; sweet pota- 
toes, medium, $1 each, and everything else in proportion. 

On the 15th of January, 1865, I was detailed to report to 
General Ransom's headquarters for special duty, and met a 
force of several others from brigade. We were taken in com- 
mand by Lieut. A. Clate Sharp, of Forty-ninth, to boat wood 
down the river and canal for the men in the trenches. We 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY, 29 

were soon comfortably quartered at our wagon yard. Here 
we went seven miles up the canal and two miles up the river 
into another canal, where we got the wood. This was a real 
picnic all the time. With three men to the boat, we would 
bring down four cords of wood on a boat. While out there I 
would often see General Lee, nearly always by himself, riding 
around leisurely. I got rations from home and fared sump- 
tuously, while the poor fellows in the ditches were having it 
rough. They were now trimmed out to one man to the yard. 
About the first of March about a dozen of Company F con- 
cluded they had enough of it, and all started for home, taking 
their guns with them. They had gotten information from 
me that there were no guards next to the river, and succeeded 
in getting through. I will not name them here. They nearly 
all had been good and faithful soldiers who had borne more 
hardships than I. They had been in those bleak and bloody 
trenches for nearly nine months. The annual spring cam- 
paign was coming on, and every private knew that resistance 
could not much longer be sustained. On the 15th of March 
my detail ended, and we were relieved from the ditches and 
went to Hotches Run, ten miles away. 

Grant was pressing Lee's right, and about 3 a. m. on March 
25th, Lee attacked Grant in front of our old position next to 
the river and carried it with little or no loss. We went in to 
hold it, and after day they attacked us with a heavy force, 
and holding the lines on both our flanks, after two hours of 
hard fighting, turned our right flank and compelled our right 
to fall back or surrender. The enemy held a fort close on 
our left, and when they came swarming over the hill on our 
right and pressing our front we had to surrender with two 
thousand on that end of the line. All of Company F that 
were together, thirty-four in all, including Captain and 
Lieutenant Grigg, Lieutenant Dr. V. J. Palmer, had been in 
front of our line, and seeing the predicament, slipped out and 
escaped without coming back through the company. George 
Thompson was mortally wounded. This was the last of Com- 



w 



30 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

panj F, except five or six rallied by Lieutenant Palmer. The 
spring before we started out with one hundred, this spring we 
had forty men in line. 

We took our position an hour or two before day. The 
Yankees had three strong lines of earthworks, with stockade 
in front, but they only had a skirmish line holding it, while 
their comfortable encampments were in the rear. We could 
easily have taken the lines on our left to Appomattox River 
when we first went in, but it was soon strongly reinforced. 
As we were marched back to the rear we met battery after 
battery of field artillery coming in. An artilleryman said, 
"Johnnies, if you had held them works an hour longer we 
would have had five hundred guns and cannons playing on 
you." We were soon back in ■©«¥- camps and marched 
around through them for three miles to General Meade's 
headquarters. In some camps the men were playing ball and 
frolicking like no enemy was near. Others were falling into 
line of march ; others had muskets stacked ready to fall in at 
a moment's notice. Far back in the rear endless columns 
were marching to the left flank of their lines to outflank Lee's 
right. At Meade's headquarters we were joined by two 
thousand more of our men who had been captured that morn- 
ing on Hotche's Run. About 2 p. m. we were reviewed by 
General Grant and President Lincoln, riding horseback, fol- 
lowed by a troop of cavalry and a number of fine carriages 
containing ofiicers and ladies. They marched by us and re- 
turned and came back by us, where we were in the open along 
the road. We were then put on some flat or freight cars and 
shipped to City Point. There we were put inside their large 
barrack inclosure where their own men were kept under the 
same guard with us. The next morning they gave us some 
boiled fat pork and a handful of hardtack. As we came down 
we passed through Sheridan's cavalry camp of thirty thousand 
strong. 

On Sunday evening, March 26th, General McHenry, a 
white-headed old man, commanding the post, got upon a bar- 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 31 

rel and made a speech. He said the war would soon be over, 
and that President Lincoln had offered amnesty to all who 
would laj down their arms or desert the Confederate army 
and come over to the Union side, and that they would be 
allowed to go North and work. He said that no doubt some 
of us had wished to desert and quit fighting and had not had 
a chance to do so, and now he would give us a chance to take 
the oath of allegiance to the United States if we would volun- 
teer to do so. He would send such up to Washington and 
see if President Lincoln would accept it and allow them to 
take the oath and go ISTorth and be free from war. When the 
call for deserter volunteers was arranged, the greatest fun 
started among the four thousand prisoners. They would 
make all kinds of humorous remarks about the deserter volun- 
teers. When one would step out, "You are welcome to him ; 
he is as cowardly as any of your hirelings. There goes an- 
other ; we are glad to get rid of him, for he never was any 
good," etc. About thirty volunteered and were removed from 
their fellows. Then he called for three hundred volunteers 
who wished to be exchanged at once — sent up to Richmond, 
where they could go to fighting again. We raised a yell, and 
about two hundred rushed forward. He then called, "Come 
on, all who want more fighting." There was much stir, 
comrades hunting up each other so as to keep together. Com- 
pany F rallied and joined the fighting column, except five or 
six, who held back and afterwards went up to Washington 
with the deserter volunteers. We were marched to the wharf 
and put on a steamboat that carried us to Point Lookout 
Prison, Maryland, instead of Richmond for exchange. At 
the time we volunteered so briskly we did not believe we would 
be exchanged, and its very evident that not many wished to be, 
for they all believed that the war would be over in a few 
weeks. 

While on the wharf a nice, clever old citizen came up to 
me, a beardless boy, and entered into a conversation. He 
said, "It is very fortunate for you that you were taken pris- 



32 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIEK BOY. 

oner. You are in the hands of a civilized and Christian 
people who will treat you well and you will not have to fight 
any more. The war will be over in six months, and you can 
then return to your loved ones at home." I heard him pa- 
tiently, and he felt he was making a good impression on me. 
Then I retorted : "You are putting it off for six months now, 
are you? I thought joii said you would whip us in three 
months at the start." He turned away and seemed to lose 
interest in me. I was from the inside and could have told 
him the war would be over in six weeks. 

We had a good voyage. Stopped a half hour at Fortress 
Monroe, where there was a great deal of shipping, including 
war vessels of all nations. We arrived at Point Lookout, 
Md., at sunset. Our names were recorded and we were over- 
hauled and ushered into prison. There were about three 
thousand there when we arrived, on the first boat load of the 
spring campaign. We were assigned quarters in tents already 
occupied. I thought they would be glad to see us and hear 
from home, but they seemed mad and asked very few questions 
that night. But we soon learned that talking was not allowed 
after dark, as white guards walked the streets inside, while 
negro sentinels were on the outside parapet. We were al- 
ways interested in the new-comers, who continued to come for 
two or three weeks, until the number was increased to twenty- 
three thousand. Point Lookout lays between Chesapeake 
Bay and Potomac River, and is nearly surrounded by water. 
The prison on the Chesapeake side was drained into that bay, 
and was an ideal place for a military prison, and was consid- 
ered one of the most healthful prisons. It was enclosed by a 
high plank fence with two gates, opening to bay and one for 
entrance on southeast corner. It was divided into ten or 
twelve divisions, with nearly as many cook-houses, one chapel 
and school-house, eight wells, no two of which contains the 
same kind of water. The water was strong coperas, alum, 
and some nearly fair freestone. The Confederate govern- 
ment had an agent there, a Methodist preacher by the name 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 33 

of Morgan and a South Carolinian. His business was to look 
after the welfare of the prisoners, to distribute clothing, etc., 
very little of which was distributed after we got there. He 
ran the schools and regulated religious worship in the chapel. 
We got for a day's ration three-quarters of a pound of loaf 
bread -awi six crackers, one pint of soup with a spoonful or 
two of beans and potatoes in it. About one-quarter pound 
of fat boiled pork two days, one-half pound fresh beef or mut- 
ton one day, and one-half pound of fish (mackeral or codfish) 
four days in each week. We had no fuel and had to eat fish 
raw. We got plenty of soap, but nothing to warm water with 
to wash. We had access to the bay for washing and bathing. 
There were several details to work on outside of prison, for 
which we got tobacco and some extra rations. When outside 
about the wharves we could get a little wood, such as barrel 
staves, chips and pieces of planks. There were two or three 
hundred men taken out every fair day to work, and I got out 
a good deal, was on a regular detail for two or three weeks, 
which was a great help. The hospital grounds adjoined the 
prison, and many were in the hospital. It was reported that 
the death rate some days was more than twenty. Only one 
of our company died there — Benjamin Jenkins. 

Lee's surrender was celebrated by firing signal guns for 
twenty-four hours. Then Lincoln's death was honored by all 
flags half-mast and firing one-half-hour guns for twenty-four 
hours. 

Those fellows who volunteered to take the oath and were 
sent to Washington had been refused by President Lincoln, 
but they were all discharged first. Major A. G. Brady was 
in command of the post. We got no mail or papers. There 
was a bulletin board for posting orders and news. 

There were negroes who had been captured in the Confed- 
erate army that remained true and preferred staying with us 
instead of taking the oath and going free. Also a large 
number of English sailors, blockade runners. West India 
negroes, and political prisoners all together. When they 
8 



34 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

began to discharge us about the Gth of June, thirtj-two were 
called out at a time and stood under the Stars and Stripes and 
took the oath of allegiance together and subscribed to the same 
in the record books. I got out the 12th of June, and was 
landed in Richmond on the night of the 13th. Here we were 
bountifullj supplied with rations and given railroad trans- 
portation. Everything had now changed. Richmond and 
all the principal towns were swarming with Federal troops. 
We remained in Richmond two days on account of a washout, 
and did not reach home until the 20th of June. 

I will state that Lieut. V. J. Palmer and the four or five 
men with him were captured at Five Forks when the lines 
were broken. About the first of April, Lieutenant Palmer 
had his men to load for him, and he stood on the parapet and 
fired as fast as the guns could be handed to him, until he was 
surrounded. In the last battle, on the 25th March, 1865, 
Lieutenant Palmer, with several others, took a position in 
front of the lines in some narrow drain ditches, where they 
could keep up a continual fire, while the main line only fired 
when the enemy advanced in force. During this time T. J. 
Dixon shot down a brave Yankee at close range, and said, 
''Boys, don't shoot him any more." L. A. Bridges brought 
down several of the bravest Yankees at close range. The Yan- 
kee who took Bridges' gim said, "You have been using it ; it is 
pretty hot." Bridges said, "Yes, I got it from you and have 
made the best use of it I could. You can have it ; I reckon 
it belongs to you." 

Among those who were never seriously wounded or sick, but 
were always in their places, were First Sergt. Andy London, 
who stood at the head of Company F in every battle ; Sergt. 
H. Dedmon, Spencer A. Crowder, Jno. A. Tesseneer, Flay 
Gantt, Samuel Hasten, Graham Wilson, T. J. Hoard, Sabert 
Hoard, Joseph Beam, David Peeler and L, A. Bridges. 
Lieut. V. J. Palmer and Alfred Grigg were always at their 
posts except while disabled by wounds. Peter Price died last 
July, James Finch died last year, Lieut. Alfred Grigg moved 
to Kentucky, Jno. Grigg to Louisiana, Frank Hasten to Ten- 
nessee. 



the southern soldier boy. 35 

Supplemental to History of Company F. 

The names of Joseph Hasten and Ephraim Wilson, who 
died early in the service, and Jesse Willis, a senior recruit 
who served faithfully to the end, were omitted. These are all 
I can get up. My comrades at this time can give me but little 
information. People ask how I can recollect so well after 
so many years. I kept a diary of all important events. Then 
my mother, who is still living, has all the letters I wrote home 
during my service in the army. I had nine first cousins in 
the regular army, and only two survived the war, and they 
were both severely wounded twice, and I am the only survivor, 
though I have an uncle living, my mother's brother. Dr. Thos. 
L. Carson, who was at General Lee's surrender. 

Confederate Monument at Shelby. 

The Soldier's Monument at Shelby seems to be all that 
could be desired from anyone's standpoint. There's nothing 
boastful, nothing flattering or ^.inconsistent. It simply ex- 
presses a patriotic duty performed in the greatest crisis in the 
history of our country. That generation passed through an 
ordeal second to none in the annals of modern history. Their 
descendants by whom it is erected have no apologies to make. 
The massive granite column, to last for ages, will tell the sim- 
ple story of pride in the heroic fortitude of such ancestry — 
and will ever be an inspiration to the rising manhood of com- 
ing generations. It is most fitting that it is erected now after 
more than forty years of candid deliberation. If it had been 
erected thirty years ago it would only have represented our 
fallen heroes. Ten years ago, when it was first suggested to 
rear a monument for all Confederate soldiers, living and de- 
ceased, the living generally protested, thinking it egotistical 
or boastful to erect a monument to themselves. But the 
Daughters were too enthusiastic to wait for all the old soldiers 
to die, and now all old soldiers approve their course and are 
most grateful for the monument to their comrades, which by 
and by will stand for all. 



36 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

The statue on the monument is a good specimen of the stal- 
wart private soldier, and would well represent Private Charles 
Blanton, of the Fiftj-fifth ]^. C. Regiment, who once cap- 
tured fourteen prisoners on the skirmish line. Having heard 
his comrades tell of this heroic deed a few years ago, I asked 
Mr. Blanton how he did it. He said : "We were ordered to 
drive the Yankee skirmishers back and locate their battle line. 
As we advanced on them we saw several taking shelter in a 
rifle pit, when six or eight of us made a rush to take the pit, 
and when I got there they ducked down and looked scared, 
and I ordered them to thrown down their guns and get out of 
there quick, and they obeyed promptly. As I stepped behind 
them I saw that I was alone — the others having all been shot 
down — and seeing their battle line laying flat close by, ordered 
my prisoners to double-quick to the rear, and I trotted them 
out all right. When I commanded them to surrender, I 
thought my comrades were close by, and I had them under 
good control before I knew any better." 

Mrs. Stonewall Jackson r(ifusing a $1,200 pension, while 
indigent widows and veterans only get a pittance, may cause 
them to get $150,000 more than heretofore. It is the hap- 
piest thought that our countrymen still appreciate most highly 
the principle that money can not buy. Mrs. Jackson belongs 
to history, linked to a name that will live through the ages, an 
inspiration to the highest ideals of patriotic devotion, that 
bring most desirable achievements that untold generations 
will be proud to honor. 

A Patriotic Recruit. 

The soldiers life, even in the most strenuous and dangerous 
campaigns, finds some relief in jest and laughter, like flowers 
strewn along the thorny paths of hardships. When you hear 
an old soldier boast of his exploits and miraculous escapes, 
you can credit him for having been both a good forager and 
a good dodger. The best soldiers are ambitious, patriotic, 
jovial, patient and uncomplaining. 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIEE BOY. 37 

When our Company F, Fiftj-sixtli Regiment, had been in 
the Camp of Instruction a few weeks, a young, enthusiastic 
recruit came in. He showed all the marks of a good soldier, 
even to a very fine opinion of himself. He was eager to take 
a stand in the front rank from the start; and he was speedily 
supplied with the regulation equipment. Then he called on 
some of the hoys at a game of marbles, who interrogated him 
about his outfit, and inquired if he had got his marbles. He : 
'^Do I get marbles ?" They : "Of course every soldier is al- 
lowed a set of marbles." He : "And where do I get my 
marbles?" "You will find your marbles at the Colonel's 
tent, but when you go after them you must salute the 
Colonel." He: "Salute how?" "This way: Catch your hat 
with this hand, raise the other hand, fingers extended, and 
strike out this way." After practicing him for awhile, they 
told him that would do — he had it right. Then he bolted 
for the Colonel's tent with all the assurance with which he 
would accost a township constable. The Colonel was a West 
Pointer and as dignified and austere as the Czar of all the 
Russias. After saluting the Colonel, he said, "Colonel, I 
have just come in and drawed my outfit and have called in to 
get my marbles." The Colonel: "The h — 11 you say! Re- 
port to your quarters at once or I'll have you put in the guard- 
house. When he came back, he looked like a bucket of cold 
water had been thrown on his patriotic enthusiasm. They 
inquired, "Did you get your marbles ?" He : "I^o !" "What 
did the Colonel say ?" "He cussed me and threatened to put 
me in the guard-house." 

The reader can imagine what a laugh they had at the break- 
ing in of a real good soldier, who proved faithful to the end. 
But ever afterwards, whenever he got on a "high boss," some 
one would ask him what the Colonel said when he went after 
his marbles. 

A Bad Case of Itch. 

In the fall of 1863, while my regiment, the Fifty-sixth 
North Carolina, was on detail service arresting conscripts and 



38 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

deserters in the middle and western counties, our company 
headquarters then being- at Hannah's Cross Roads in David- 
son County, a stout, strapping boy of 18 came from Catawba 
County to join the army with us. He had two uncles in our 
company who were off with a detachment; and he, being a 
stranger to all present, and noticing that he had a bad case of 
itch, all stood aloof from him. After he had been in camp a 
few days Hey Gantt got a short furlough to visit his sick 
wife. He, noticing Gantt's arrangements for going home, 
inquired what he was going home for. Ike Powell said, 
"We are sending Gantt home because he has got the each." 
He : "Well, I've got the each." P. : "Yes, I see you have, 
and what did you come here v/ith the each for. We've got 
trouble enough here without the each." He: "Well, if you 
say so I'll go home too, for I am getting mighty tired of this 
place anyhow." P. : "Well, that would be the best thing you 
could do," He : "But I've eat up all the rations I brought 
from home, and I 'haint got nothing cooked to eat, and I 
can't cook — never cooked any in my life." P. : "Then I'll 
tell you what you do ; you go to Capt. Grigg and tell him you 
want a man detailed to cook some rations to do you home; 
tell him you are going with Gantt, and that you will stay 
away from here until you are plumb well of the each." The 
young recruit bolted to the Captain, who soon set him straight 
on army rules and regulations. 

Longstreet's Corps Was on the Way to Chickamauga. 

The same fall I was at High Point, N. C, and saw Long- 
street's Corps pass. The trains all stopped there and I mingled 
and talked much with them. I never saw soldiers in higher 
spirits. As they had come through Raleigh, they had de- 
stroyed the late ex-Governor W. W. Holden's Raleigh Stand- 
ard printing press. They exhibited papers fastened to sticks 
like flags, with handfuls of type. Holden had been advocat- 
ing peace and they considered him a traitor to the South. 
They said those western Yankees had been having things 



THE SOUTHEKN SOLDIER BOY. 39 

their own way out there, but Lee's men were going to give 
them something that they would not forget soon. ''We will 
put them in a trot like we have been chasing them out of 
Virginia." They were traveling on freight and flat-cars, 
with as many on top of freight boxes as inside. 

About a week after that we were at High Point again, con- 
veying some arrested conscripts to Raleigh, when train load 
after train load of Federal prisoners passed going from 
Chickamauga to Richmond. The trains stopped and we 
talked with those western prisoners and found them very 
sassy and determined about the Union. One big, red-whis- 
kered fellow said to me : ''What you fellers doing back here 
so far in the rear ?" We replied : "We have plenty of men at 
the front to attend to you fellows. We are just resting and 
having a good time." He replied, "Yes, d — n you; I guess 
you are back here hunting for conscripts and trying to force 
good Union men into your d — d army." His train pulled out 
and we let him go at that, but thinking from the grit he dis- 
played that he must be a Tennessean or Kentuckian. 

Shooting an Outlaw. 

While operating in Randolph County, IsT. C, in September, 
1864, we wounded in the foot and captured a man who had 
not been in the army but was said to head a band of outlaws. 
His name was Northcut. He was tried by a little drumhead 
court marshal and shot on short notice one mile north of 
Ashboro as we were leaving that section for Wilkes County, 
where there was a strong Union sentiment hard to hold down. 
After operating in the mountains several months, where much 
apple brandy, fat beef, milk and honey abounded, we re- 
turned to Randolph and the adjoining counties of Davidson, 
Moore, Montgomery and Chatham, where there was much 
work to do. Here we began pressing property, especially 
horses and feed, from the disloyal to force them to bring in 
their conscript sons, and soon a number of our company was 
mounted, only intending to use the horses while operating 



40 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

in that vicinity; but Governor Vance, being advised of it, 
complained to the Confederate War Department and threat- 
ened to turn his militia loose on us and drive us from the 
State if such conduct was not stopped and all property 
pressed promptly turned over to the original owners — and we 
had to come down oif our high horses and take it afoot again. 
Up to that time I had not developed quite courage enough to 
steal a horse, but was caught red-handed with a good mount 
in this temporary "critter company." — a furloughed man 
having given me his horse. So my dignity was shocked when 
I had to come down from my self-promoted position to a 
flatfooted infantryman again. 

Removing Federal Prisoners From Richmond, Va., to 
Anderson viLLE, Ga., February and March, 1864. 

I was on a detail and made three trips via Raleigh, Char- 
lotte, Columbia to Branchville, S. C. These prisoners had 
been confined on Belle's Island, in James River, and were 
in a most pitiable condition — half starved, half naked. Most 
of them had been in prison for months and very few had a 
change of garments. They were ragged, lousy, filthy and in- 
fested with smallpox, and most of them had diarrhoea and 
scurvy and were so weak that when they would swing down 
out of box-cars their legs would give away when their feet 
struck the ground, and they would fall in a heap on the 
ground. I don't think they got anything to eat except a 
little bread and meat, mostly cornbread. They were trans- 
ferred in box-cars, forty j)acked into a car. We sometimes 
stopped at Raleigh to change cars, and always stopped at Char- 
lotte twelve to twenty-four hours. We ran up the Seaboard 
to where it crossed the Statesville Railroad, then in the woods. 
A small branch ran under both roads east and north of cross- 
ing, with embankments on south and west, and we put them 
out there, where they had free access to the branch. One 
night several crawled up a drain ditch from branch along 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 41 

railroad and got out between the guard; others were caught 
in the act and stopped. 

Old man Tyree, of Company K detail, whose home was 
not far away, said he could get some bloodhounds that would 
run them down. He was sent after the dogs and they were 
put on their tracks after they had been gone four or five 
hours, and followed them about thirty miles and caught them. 
The next time we stopped there, at 2 a. m., they, the prisoners, 
seemed restless, a number being up and moving around near 
the guard lines. Two or three made a break through the guard 
lines and escaped in the darkness. Several shots were fired 
at them, which awoke and roused up the whole camp. They 
were ordered to lay down, but would not obey, even when the 
officers ordered us to fire into them. But instead of firing 
into them, as we were ordered, tried firing a few shots over 
them, which had the effect to make them lay down. The 
officers then went among them and told them if anyone got up 
before day he would be shot down. But still, occasionally, 
one would get up and a giiard would fire over him. At last 
one of the guards shot and killed one. That might have been 
omitted, though we had orders to do so. All the guards de- 
plored that rash action. An old, sick Irishman fell in the 
branch and died that night. I noticed after the war six or 
eight graves at that wayside camp. Those who escaped that 
night probably got through, as we never heard of them again. 

While on guard in the car with them some of them twitted 
us about being afraid of our officers. I told them our offi- 
cers were kind and treated us well ; that I had been in the 
army seven months and had never seen a man bucked and 
gagged ; and, turning to a serious-looking Irishman, who was 
listening with interest, but had said nothing, I asked him if 
he had ever seen anything of that kind in their army. He 
answered, "Yes, my friend ; I've been bucked and gagged 
meself many a time." That was a clincher for me that ended 
the discussion. The bad treatment of prisoners on both sides 
makes one of the darkest pictures of that war. We under 



42 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

stand statistics sliow the mortality to be 13 per cent on the 
Federal side to 9 per cent on the Confederate. My own ex- 
perience in a Federal prison at the close of the war, while 
very disagreeable, was much better than those poor fellows 
were getting with us. But when we take into consideration 
the superior resources of the United States, they were, to say 
the least, equally negligent and resentful to their helpless 
enemies. Point Lookout Federal prison will be treated on 
in another chapter. 

Navigating the Appomattox River. 

It has been mentioned in a former chapter that I was on a 
detail in winter, commencing the 15th day of January, 1865, 
to boat wood for the men in the trenches. The detail for 
Ransom's brigade, composed of six men from each of the 
five regiments, commanded by Lieut. A. C. Sharpe, of Forty- 
ninth Regiment. Those from my regiment, Fifty-sixtli 
North Carolina, were Company B, .... McMillan ; Company 
D, .... Parker; Company F, J. C. Elliott (this writer) ; 
Company G, Wm. A. Condrey; Company I, Thomas Rob- 
bins; Company K, Calvin Deweese. We went back to the 
canal, which ran seven miles up the river, then two miles in 
the river up into another two-mile canal, and then into the 
river again. One mile above the basin or boat landing at 
Petersburg there were several locks through which boats were 
raised and lowered, and just below the locks there was a 
small creek, wdiicli ran through a stone culvert under the 
canal. General Lee had built a high dirt dam across that 
creek and backed the water on the Yankees and drowned out 
a part of their lines and forced them back. Besides, this big 
pond protected our position in that quarter. While we were 
waiting a few days to get our boats ready, this big dam broke 
loose and the water came in a solid wall about forty feet high, 
and striking the canal culvert swept it away, and also cleaned 
out the south side railroad bridge just below. Then the cana] 
had to cross this creek on a wooden trestle, and while it was 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 43 

being built we had to haul wood at night on railroad from 
towards Richmond. The enemy had a battery on the Ches- 
terfield side that shelled any trains that moved on that road 
in daylight. When we first went back to work it was several 
days before we were furnished with cloth tents, and during 
that time we had to look out for such quarters as we could 
find. So our fifty-six contingent prospected an old wood 
wagon shop, near by our brigade wagon yard. We found 
this old shop occupied by an old, dilapidated darkey — Uncle 
Tom — who was supporting himself by cobbling cooperage. 
After a survey of these premises we informed Uncle Tom 
that we had decided there was plenty of room for him and 
us, and we proposed to move in with him at once. While 
Uncle Tom did not seem at all flattered with our company, 
he did not openly protest, probably thinking it useless to do 
so. He said he could make out with one side if we could 
with the other side, with a common fire between on the 
ground, while there was a raised floor on each side. We also 
learned Uncle Tom had another lodger in the person of a 
young Georgia cracker who professed to belong to a pontoon 
corps. Uncle Tom had the appearance of being well raised — 
one of the old-time colored gem-en, who had but little patience 
for po' white folks and especially soldiers of uncertain repu- 
tations. It was a cold, mid-January night when Uncle Tom 
got down his heavy comforts and made his bed. He had 
more cover than all of us, and a couple of us insisted that we 
sleep with him. But Uncle Tom drew the color line on us 
and objected most emphatically to any such close relations. 
He said he was used to sleeping by himself and could rest 
better, besides, he was afraid of dem ar buggers. He was 
very careful about letting his bedding come in contact with 
our blankets. We were kind to Uncle Tom, and he soon be- 
came reconciled and quite sociable. While here one day our 
Georgia cracker shouldered his gun and made a foray several 
j miles up the south side of railroad in quest of pork or any- 



44 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

thing else to eat. He returned that evening with about a 
bushel of corn. He said he found some cars loaded with 
corn on a side-track and had broken in and helped himself. 
He said, "As I come along up yonder I met General Lee. I 
saluted him as politely as I could, but he looked at me power- 
ful hard, and I thought he was going to ask me where I got 
that corn, but he didn't. He was going out to where his big 
dam had broken loose, and was near where the canal was 
v.'ashed out. I stopped and watched him pass there, and he 
never looked out that way at all. I don't believe General 
Lee cares a damn about his big dam breaking and washing 
out the canal and railroad." There were a few fat hens that 
ranged in our wagon yard. The next evening our cracker 
took a handful of his corn and passed innocent-like near a 
large, gentle hen, and dropping a few grains on into our shop 
quarters, the hen, following, was soon inside and the door was 
closed ; and that hen failed to return home to roost. Uncle 
Tom was out at the time and never knew where that chicken 
came from. The next morning, when Uncle Tom was shown 
how thick the grease was on the pot, he said, "That sho' is a 
fat chicken." Then we told him if he had joined our mess 
and let us sleep with him he would have had a share in the 
chicken pot. He said he never did care a great deal about 
chicken any way. A few days later we got a good, new cloth 
tent and moved out and left Uncle Tom and his Georgia 
cracker alone. After the canal was mended, and we were 
running our boats, our cracker friend proposed to go up the 
river v.'ith us to forage for turnips ; said if we would give him 
transportation he would divide the "catch" with us. After 
reaching the woodpile and while we were loading he recon- 
noitered the neighborhood and said he had located a healthy 
looking turnip patch ; it was pretty close to the house, but 
thought he could raid it all right after dark. After supper 
the old man Baldwin, of the Twenty-fifth North Carolina, a 
rough-looking old mountaineer, who looked like he might 
have had experience in such raids in time of peace, said he 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 45 

would go with him, and they cheerfully set off. After they 
had been gone about an hour old man Baldwin came pulling 
in, puffing and blowing, and said ''they put the dogs after us 
and shot at us. I didn't git but a handful and I dropped 
them as I got over the fence." Soon our cracker came in, 
looking like he was suffering a great bereavement, and when 
we laughed, he said, "I didn't think they would be so d — d 
particular about a few turnips this far out in the country." 
So we were all disappointed about our turnip soup. It 
would have been so nice with a few peppers. The naviga- 
tion of the river was dangerous during high water. One 
night, while we were up in the second canal, the river rose 
several feet and was booming as we came out into it, and the 
strong current carried our boat against a "drift on a small over- 
flowed island, and came near sinking or capsizing it. Then 
the only way we could get off was down over a rough, shoaly 
slough, where she went like a bucking broncho. The next 
boat after us was manned by Alabamians, and they went 
over the lower rock dam that turned the water into the canal ; 
being good swimmers, they got out, but lost their boat. 

The 15th of March our Brigade was relieved from its posi- 
tion between the Appomattox River and the ISTorfolk railroad, 
where it had stayed continuously for nearly nine months, and 
moved about ten miles to the right on Hatch's Run. We 
came back to Petersburg and were in battle of Fort Stead- 
man, in front of our old position, a sketch of which has been 

given. 

Incidents on the Lines. 

The Yankees always showed a disposition to be friendly 
and wanted to talk to us, but our officers would not allow 
us to talk much, but had us to keep up a sharpshooters' fire 
on them all the while. However, we would occasionally ex- 
change a few compliments. We used to inquire if they had 
any more Negroes they wanted buried; if they did, to bk)W 
out another hole and send them over and we would cover them 



46 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

up. One night, in front of the Twenty-fifth Forth Carolina 
Regiment, thej changed their line, moving a section back a 
little. We inquired what thej meant, and if they had an 
idea of leaving ns. They replied, no, they expected to be 
neighbors for some time yet, bnt that the Twenty-fifth North 
Carolina was a little too close and was stealing their rations. 
The Twenty-fifth was a mountain regiment, every company 
west of the Blue Ridge, and w^as known in the brigade as the 
old roguish Twenty-fifth. It had a good fighting record. 

One morning a large hawk came flying along between the 
lines. Both sides opened fire on it, and it became bewil- 
dered and lit on top of a tall poplar on City Point road, mid- 
way between the lines, and was soon shot out, both sides cheer- 
ing and claiming it. 

On March 25, after repelling a number of courageous as- 
saults, our right falling back and being near a fort on our 
left, and assaulting columns pressing our front, we ceased 
firing to surrender. Our captors came up with flashing eyes 
and the loveliest smiles on their countenances and shook hands 
with us in the most enthusiastic manner. I could compre- 
hend how good they felt when we ceased firing on them and 
they saw that they had gained a great victory. But as I 
passed through that fort, in and around where the dead of 
both sides lay thick, and saw a lot of freckle-faced Michigan 
boys vigorously firing on our men who were running back 
trying to get out, I felt like I wanted my gun again. Then, 
as we were carried to the rear, the bullets from our side came 
singing over us and knocking up dust in the road, our guard 
said, ''Run, Johnnie, run ! Run, Johnnie, nm ! Our interest 
being the same, we were soon out of range. 

Reminiscences of Point Lookout Prison. 

When we got there, the 27th of March, 1865, Negro troops 
guarded the outside walls and white men patrolled inside 
after night, and I saw nothing to criticise in the prison man- 
agement; but those who had spent the wdnter there told some 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 47 

horrible and ludicrous stories o£ outrageous treatment by 
the jSTegro guard which, for awhile, guarded both outside and 
inside. A JSTegro guard would hear some one say, "Lay over 
or let me have some more cover." If the !Negro guard heard 
it he would say, "Who dat talking in dar. Send him out 
here quick or I'll make you all come out." Then, after 
double-quicking him around and making him mark time 
with his bare feet on the snow for a while, he would say, 
"Now pray for Abraham Lincoln. N^ow cuss Jeff. Davis. 
Now pray that some colored gemmen may marry your sister — 
den I let you go back." Some of these men said they could 
never die satisfied after they got out until they killed some 
Negroes on general principles. 

A Negro Sergeant Who Claimed He Carried White 
Ladies' Hair. 

When I went out one day on a work detail I carried out 
to sell a watch chain made of the hair from a horse's tail or 
jiane, and showed it to a Negro sergeant, who seemed to 
greatly admire its artistic beauty and inquired if the man 
who made it could make one of a lady's hair — that he wished 
to have one made from a lock of his sweetheart's hair that he 
possessed. I said I did not know; probably it would be too 
fine — when he answered, "It's no nigger wool; it's white 
lady har; my girl am a white lady." I answered, I don't 
know whether he can work it or not. 

Begging Crumbs From a Negro's Table. 

One morning as I went out with the stable detail, as we 
were passing a Negro house, a six-year-old boy came to the 
door with a plate full of crumbs and crusts to throw out, 
when we asked him to give it to us. He gleefully held it 
out, while we rushed for it like hungry hogs. I got a hand- 
ful. Then I thought; then I hesitated — subjugated, humil- 
iated and degraded to begging the crumbs from a Negro's 
table. Then all the proud English, Irish and German blood 



48 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

in mj veins rose up in protest, and I dashed it to the ground, 
though I was hungry enough to have licked all the plates in 
a whole Negro quarter. 

Two Patriotic Soldiers and One Who Was Out for 
THE Bounty. 

One day while working at the quarters of a German artil- 
lery company, located on the isthmus next the Potomac side, 
an American Yankee soldier came around and raised a 
friendly conversation about the war issues and boasted about 
how he had fought for the Union and how much longer he 
would fight. A Louisi anion made issue with him and showed 
all the enthusiastic patriotism for the South. When they 
had exhausted their patriotic vocabularies the Yankee passed 
on, our German guard, a young, good-natured fellow, re- 
marked to me, "I bees no war man ; I does not want to fight." 
Then I inquired how he came to be in the army, and he re- 
plied, ''Oh, I bees a poor man ; I has no money ; they gives me 
three hundred dollars bounty, and I bees soldier." Then he 
remarked, "Our company all voted for McClellan; Lincoln 
loves the Nigger too much," 

On the Wharf Detail and Wanting to Steal Some- 
thing FROM Uncle Sam's Plentiful Stores. 

Several of us were in the big commissary prying around to 
get into the bean and potato barrels, when a wagon drove up 
and a Negro commanded us, saying, "Four you men go up- 
stairs and bring down some cracker boxes and load dis wagon." 
I got in the push and, as soon as we reached the cracker 
boxes we give a box a fling from the top of the pack and 
bursted it, when we all began eating like hogs. In a minute 
here came the Negro. "What you-ens doin' dar ? Dems our 
rations youse eatin'." "A box fell and bursted, and we are 
gathering them up as fast as we can." "Well, dat's all right, 
but don't you-ens eat no mo'." "Can't we have these scraps." 
"Yes, you may; you may have dem scraps." We already 
had our pockets stuffed. 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIEE, BOY. 49 

At another time, working around the commissary, I filled 
my pockets with beans and potatoes. These were the only 
full messes I got while in prison. The largest detail was 
known as the Fort detail, building and sodding a fort on the 
Potomac side. About three hundred men were worked on 
it. They got about three square inches or five cents worth 
of plug tobacco and a little drink of whiskey per day. The 
other details only give one pound of salt pork and a pint of 
vinegar for ten days' work. Working ten days for a pound 
of pork was rather low wages, but most of us were glad to get 
such an opportunity to get out. If we could pick up as much 
as the staves of a flour barrel we could sell it for ten or fifteen 
cents inside of prison, and a little money went a long way. 
Mackerel sold at five cents per pound, and a pound and a half 
loaf of bread for ten cents. The cheapest tobacco sold at one 
dollar per pound, and the men suffered as much for tobacco 
as for bread. The most of the users of tobacco would swap 
a piece of bread for a chew of tobacco. Tobacco retailed 
mostly by the chew. Tobacco was the most common medium 
of exchange. All of the smaller gambling concerns used 
pieces of tobacco cut up in chews, the larger cuts passing for 
five or ten chews. Rev. Morgan, the Confederate agent, con- 
ducted a school, which I attended some. Several preachers 
came in and preached to us, and the Catholic priests visited 
us occasionally, besides our local preachers held open air exer- 
cises frequently. The death of President Lincoln probably 
delayed our release. After the Confederacy went down we 
were aliens without government or protection in our native 
land. The proposition to take the oath of allegiance with 
full rights of citizenship under the old flag of our fathers 
seemed as good as we could expect, and we were soon anxious 
to do so and return home. About the 6th of June they be- 
gan to discharge us. On the 11th of June the following was 
posted on the bulletin board : "All men whose homes are in 
Virginia and N^orth Carolina who wish to return via Rich- 

4 



50 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY, 

mond, whose names begin with D and E, will be discharged 
upon taking the oath of allegiance to the United States on 
to-morrow — 12th June. So, before sunrise, I was on the 
front line of the penitents and on my knees awaiting for the 
blessing of being transformed from a rebel of the deepest dye 
into the marvelous light and liberty of a free, full-fledged, 
loyal American citizen — with all the privileges of a free 
^'Nigger." As one of the colored soldiers had told me a few 
days before. He said, "De'l turn you out some dese days — 
den you'll be just as free as we is — and we is just as free as 
the birds." The stars and stripes were stretched under the 
overhead ceiling of the school house; thirty-two of us stood 
under the flag that I had fired a thousand shots at, and, with- 
out mental reservation, took the oath and subscribed to the 
same in the records. I was marked, Occupation, Planter 
(that sounded bigger than farmer) ; age, 19 ; eyes, blue; hair, 
auburn ; complexion, fair ; height, 6 feet 3f inches. I 
weighed 170 pounds when I went there, and got away with 
145 pounds. We missed that day's ration and they gave us 
six hardtacks and a half pound of cod fish, which I eat at 
once. We (three hundred of us) arrived at Richmond after 
dark on the 13th of June. It was raining^ and we all held 
together and were instructed to report to the Provost ofiice 
at capitol. As we marched the streets the ladies would re- 
mark, ''Oh ! look, there is our men ; I am so glad to see them. 
Poor fellows, they are just out of prison." The officer of the 
guard at the capitol informed us that no provision had been 
made for us, and advised us to go to the New Market for 
shelter and to report back at 9 a. m. Here we were furnished 
transportation — '"free cars." This we took to the commissary 
and got rations. When we got to Richmond I had not eaten 
anything for more than thirty hours. A store keeper that 
night gave me two loaves of bread and some small fishes, 
dried herring, which was divided with my comrades, Virgil 
Elliott and Felix Dobbins. When Richmond was evacuated 
the people were destitute and most of them on the verge of 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 51 

starvation. So now the United States Government had 
nearly all of them to feed, white and black. When we went 
to get our rations two men drew together. I told mj comrade 
to get onr meat and I would get our bread. Averj, a conse- 
quential mulatto gentleman, waited on me, and when he 
weighed up my crackers, I said, "Meat for two men, please," 
and he throwed it up quick and pushed it to me. So I got 
a double ration of meat. 

We crossed the James River on a pontoon bridge over to 
Manchester — all the bridges having been burned. Here we 
found many new freight cars marked U. S. M. R. It, We 
took up quarters in them to wait until 8 a. m. next day. That 
night a big rain broke down the road and we had to lay over 
another day. So I told Felix that I guessed more prisoners 
came in last night ; let us go over and draw rations with them 
again, and he said all right. And we went over and drew 
another supply. I had now drawn eighteen pounds of salt 
pork to do me home. We sold the last draw to an Irish wo- 
man fv'ho kept a little shop, and we indulged in a quart of 
molasses. The people of Richmond were as clever and sym- 
pathetic with us as during the war. One storekeeper in- 
vited us to come in and help ourselves on sweet crackers (gin- 
ger snaps). The good lady that cooked our meat in Manches- 
ter sent with it a plate of nice, hot biscuits. We left Rich- 
mond June 16th, but our train could not cross the Appomat- 
tox River. The high water had careened the new trestle 
bridge. We walked over and on to another station, and a 
train from Burkville came after us. We stayed at Burkville 
until dark, and when we were ordered to board some box-cars, 
I found the door full, and they said not another could get in. 
I fought my way in and found those in the door all there were 
in it. So I hunted up my comrades, Elliott and Dobbins, 
and brought them in, as a thunder storm was coming up. 
These men who tried to keep us out were hospital rats. They 
were clean and did not want to mix with us lousy, dirty 
prisoners. After we got in they let no others in, while many 



52 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

had to ride on top in an all-night rain storm. Thousands of 
Federal troops occupied Greensboro and Charlotte. They 
were all quite friendly and congratulated us on the close of 
the war, I said, ''Well, you've freed the E^egroes ; now what 
are you going to do with them." They said, ''Oh d — n the 
Niggers. I say kill 'em ; they have been the cause of all 
this trouble." We had to walk home from Charlotte, sixty 
miles, and got home June 20th, very thankful that I was so 
fortunate to come back sound and well, while so many of my 
comrades had fallen by the wayside or were broken and 
maimed for life. 

The Invasion of Home Land After Lee's Surrender. 

Our section was never visited by an hostile army until some 
regiments of General Stoneman's cavalry passed from Ruther- 
fordton to Lincolnton and back. They marauded the country 
in quest of horses and provisions. They scattered away 
from the main road and two came to my father's home. One 
held the horses and the other came in the house and said he 
wanted to search the house for arms, and soon went through 
bureaus, chests, etc. My mother's big, red chest had a double 
till in it with $10,000 of Confederate bonds and money in 
the lower till. The chest was full of bed clothes, and he felt 
under them, but did not find the Confederate money. Find- 
ing no valuables, the only thing he took from the house was 
the flint out of an old squirrel rifle. 

A Faithful Negro Servant. 

All our good Negroes were true and faithful in helping to 
hide horses and other valuable property, but some mean Ne- 
groes v5^ould tell them where things were hidden, etc. My 
aunt, Mrs. Cabaniss, lived on the public road, and as Stone- 
man's men passed do^^^l they took a good mare out of the 
plow and carried it away. She only had two horses — the 
other was a blind mare. A week later they returned, going 
back towards Rutherfordton, followed by a drove of Negroes 



I 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 53 

on foot. As they were passing Mrs. Cabaniss' a Negro saw 
her blind mare in the lot, bridled and rode it away. Her 
faithful old colored servant, Edmond, saw the Negro riding 
the blind mare away, ran after them, appealing to the officers 
that they had taken the last horse and we will all perish. 
The officer told him to get his mare. He then procured a 
heavy stick and ran up beside the Negro and knocked him 
off, the troopers laughing and cheering him. He rode the 
blind mare back, and saved one horse to plow. Edmond re- 
mained faithful and stayed with his old miss as long as she 
lived, and he retained the confidence and good will of all the 
white people as long as he lived. 

While Stoneman's troopers were raiding our section some 
of them called on Richard Smith, of Rutherford County, a 
good farmer and a good liver. He had a lot of nice bacon 
hams, and, expecting the raiders, he buried his hams in the 
house yard, fixed it up like a fresh grave and put up a head- 
board, marked Daniel. The troopers came, ransacked the 
premises and inquired about that grave in the yard. Smith 
told them that a faithful old servant had died a few days 
before, and his last request was to be buried in the yard, and, 
loving him so well, had complied. This explanation seemed 
to satisfy them, and they were about to leave, w^hen one be- 
came skeptical and said, "Hold on boys, I think I would like 
to see Daniel before we go; and, procuring a shovel, set in to 
raise him. Soon the dirt was cleaned off the box, then a 
plank was raised. He remarked, "Daniel looks natural ; 
seems like I've seen him before somewhere. Well, boys, I 
guess we will take Daniel with us. Come out of here, Daniel, 
your country needs your services," and so they lifted him out. 

Would Not Let Them Take All the Meat the Man 

Had. 

Amos Harrell, a good liver of the same county, tells how 
he saved his bacon. He hid it all out but three pieces. 
When the troopers came and raided his smoke-house an offi- 



54 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

cer, looking in, ordered them out, saying, "You shall not take 
all the man's meat ; leave him one piece." He locked the 
door and put the key in his pocket and carried it away. 

Confederate Troopers Commit Outrages, Plunder and 

Murder. 

Joseph Biggerstaff, of Rutherford County, a farmer and 
country merchant, was visited by six Confederate troopers, 
who claimed to be "Wheeler's men, on their way home. They 
demanded his money and, searching his house, found about 
$600 in specie. Four of them in the house put the money 
on a table to count it, while two men held the horses. Big- 
gerstaff said he would die before they should take his money, 
but they paid no attention to him, when he attacked them 
with an axe, killing two and had the third one down when the 
fourth one at the table shot and killed him. There was 
present a man by the name of Waters, a neighbor, who had 
stood by and took no part. One of the robbers then up- 
braided Waters as a coward who ought to be killed, shot and 
killed Waters. Gathering up all the money, they left the 
four dead men wdiere they had fallen, and rode away. This 
was the climax of the four years' bloody drama for our sec- 
tion. This last tragedy occurred near where a number of 
Tories were executed at Biggerstaff's old field, who had been 
taken at the battle of King's Mountain during the Revolu- 
tionary War. (See '^Draper's History of King's Mountain 
and its Heroes.") 

A Hearty Conscript. 

John Buncombe Crowder entered the army in 1863 as a 
38-year-old conscript, and as a good family man had proved 
successful ; but it w^as hardly expected that a man of his age 
should enter enthusiastically into the strenuous life of a sol- 
dier in times of great stress. However, John Avas inclined 
to hold up his end and made a faithful record. But the long, 
cold winter of 1865 in the trenches in front of Petersburg 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 55 

tired out his patience and be got powerful hungry. He stood 
six feet three inches and his fighting weight was 205 pounds. 
WTien we surrendered together, on the 25th of March, 1865, 
in front of Petersburg, Buncombe thought it good policy to 
make friends with his captors, in the hope of getting more and 
better rations ; so he said, "Yes, I've quit fighting you. I've 
been wanting to quit for some time, and I shore am glad 
you've got me, for I am nearly starved to death." Loss 
Bridges, the little man with the hot-gun, said, "He's lying to 
you, and at the same time showing a chunk of cornbread." 
The Yankees said, "All right, Johnnie, you've got where 
there's plenty now, and you shall have plenty to eat." B. : 
"Now I believe that I just know you'll treat me right." Y. : 
"Ah, Johnnie, bet your life we will." B. : "I've always 
thought you were clever fellows, and now I know it. I never 
did want to fight you nohow." Y. : "Bully for you, Johnnie ; 
you shall be taken good care of." The men on the firing line 
who captured him would have done what they said ; but pris- 
oners are soon turned over to the bomb-proof brigade — coffee 
coolers and grafters — the kind of men who would get rich 
keeping the county poor-house. John Buncombe made a 
hard effort to get to the flesh pots and coffee cans of Yankee- 
dom, but failed. He v/ent up to Washington with the de- 
serter volunteers, and was sent back to Point Lookout to 
starve with the rest of us. After he had been in a few days 
we asked him how he liked the fare, and he replied, "Very 
well ; I don't have anything to do, and it don't take much to 
do me." A few days more and he got so hungry he could 
hold his peace no longer and began to abuse the Yankees as 
the greatest liars and the meanest people in all the world, 
and he just wished he had held on to his gun and killed a few 
more of them anyhow. He had offered to go N^orth and 
work for something to eat, and they would not let him, and 
were just holding to starve him to death for pure meanness. 
He said when he was at home it took a good-sized hen to 



56 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

make him a meal, and now we get nothing scarcely but bread, 
and he could eat four days' rations — two loaves or three 
pounds at one meal. So he raged and lectured as a cham- 
pion eater until two men who had a little money got up a 
fifty-cent bet on him. He was to eat two loaves, or three 
pounds of bread, in thirty minutes. A crowd gathered and 
much interest was manifested in the contest, and the eating 
began. In the excitement he took too much water. In ten 
minutes the first loaf disappeared and three canteens, or nine 
pints of water, with it. Then he said he did not have quite 
enough, but did not feel like he could eat all of the other loaf, 
so they need not cut it; that his stomach had shrunk up until 
he could not eat as much as he thought he could. After that 
he could no longer command a hearing, as his record as a 
champion eater was all he had to stand on. He is now — 
1907 — living happily with his third wife and has plenty to 
eat, but says his appetite is not quite as good as it used to be. 

Scenes at Appomattox — Stragglers in the Union Army. 

Dr. Thomas L. Carson, my mother's youngest brother, who 
was in the Thirty-fourth North Carolina Regiment, Scale's 
Brigade, tells the following: 

''We had stacked our muskets in surrender in the open 
beside the road, awaiting our paroles, when a large column of 
Federal troops passed us in steady, quiet tramp, followed by 
the rear guard bringing up about 2,000 stragglers. These 
stragglers wore a conglomeration of every trashy type to be 
found in the Yankee army. Foreigners of every tongue, 
mixed with every American type — old gray-headed men, 
beardless boys, big, greasy Negroes, etc., etc., all with bat- 
tered and tattered clothing, some bareheaded and barefooted, 
and many without coats ; some only had one pant leg on — all 
under a strong guard of peart-proud soldiers marching beside 
them with fixed bayonets. As they came along one big, 
stout fellow exclaimed, "Oh, yes. Johnnies ; we've got you at 
last." A proud, peart-looking guard said, "Shut your mouth, 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 57 

you cowardly devil, or I'll pop my bayonet in you. You 
want to crow over these men. If many of our men had been 
like you, General Lee might now have had his headquarters in 
Boston instead of this surrender." 

Dr. Carson says, as they started home, a young officer from 
Ohio walked along with him for half a mile and, talking of 
the situation, said : "It looks very hard to start you men 
home without rations, but we are on short allowance our- 
selves, on account of your General Hampton, who cut down 
and destroyed eleven miles of our supply train a few days 
ago, or we would have had plenty to feed you on." 

Once upon a time when the mulatto, Fred. Douglass, was 
orating, two Irishmen passing by stopped and listened a few 
minutes, then started on. One remarked, "He spaiks right 
well for a ISTagur." The other, "Oh, he's no Nagur; he is 
only a half ITagur." "Oh, well then, if a half l^agur can 
talk that way, then I guess a whole l^agur could beat the 
prophit Jeremiah." 

Once upon a time when l^orth Carolina's last Afro- Ameri- 
can Congressman — George White — was State Solicitor, a 
young l^egro was on trial for some misdemeanor, and a 
white man was called upon to prove the defendant's character. 

Solicitor: "Do you know this man?" Witness: "Yes, 
sir." "How long have you known him?" "Oh, ever since 
he was a small boy." "Well, sir; what is his character?" 
"His character is good ; good as any ISTiggers." "Maybe you 
don't think a Negro has any character." "Oh, I didn't say 
that." "I^ow, sir; I ask you a direct question: Do you be- 
lieve a l^egro has got a character ?" "Oh, yes ; he has a iN'ig- 
ger's character." 

The Solicitor gritted his teeth and told the witness he 
could retire. 

A Patriotic Darkey. 

While working outside on a detail at Point Lookout, a 
young colored soldier, filled with patriotic enthusiasm, called 
on us and remarked : "Hadn't been for us colored troops I 



58 ■ THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

don't spec dese here Yankees ever would whipped yoii-ims." 
''Did the colored troops fight much ?" Well, not 'zactly fitin' ; 
but we do de gard duty so all de white soldiers could fight 
you, and den it seems like dey had all they could do." 

An Aggrieved Union Soldier Seeks Sympathy From 
His Southern People. 

About the same time and place a young mulatto called on 
us and began to berate his comrades. He said, "Dese old, 
black Pennsylvania Niggers ain't got no sense nohow. Dey 
jest as mean as dey can be." I said, "Ain't you a Pennsyl- 
vanian ?" "No, sir ; I'se a Southerner, I is. I is a Vir- 
ginian and I'se no kin to dem old, black Pennsylvania Nig- 
gers ; but I'se some kin to you Southerners." We told him 
we were sorry he had got into such bad company. He said, 
"Yes, Southern folks heap the best." 

A Southern railroad conductor said, "My Afro-American 
friend, you are in the wrong car ; you must get in with your 
own color." "Well, Cap'n, if you say so, reckon I'll have to 
move ; but what you goin' to do when we all gits to heaven ?" 
"Well, if I am conductor, you will move. Get along now." 

A man traveling to West Virginia, where they have free 
cars, said as soon as they got out of Virginia, at the first stop, 
it was amusing to see the darkies vacate their cars and come 
piling into the white's coaches, thus showing how aggressive 
they are for social equality. 

Field Officers of Fifty-sixth Regiment North Caro- 
lina Troops. 

The field officers were all young, fine-looking men. Col. 
Paul F. Faison was tall, dark eyes, of the finest type of sol- 
dier, and we understood a West Point cadet. Lieut. -Col. 
Luke was about thirty years old, stout, medium size, sanguine 
temperament. Maj. John W. Graham, the son of an illus- 
trious father, who served his State as Governor and United 
States Senator, William A. Graham. Major Graham, pro- 



THE SOUTHEKN SOLDIEE, BOY. 59 

motod from Captain of Company D, was quite yoimg, stout 
and hardy, always at his post except when disabled by 
wounds — full of youth and enthusiasm, he always proved 
himself the bravest of the brave. He is a prominent lawyer 
in his native town, Hillsboro. He has served as Secretary 
of State and as State Senator, and is one of the most promi- 
nent members of that body at session 1907. Maj. H. F. 
Schenck, who preceded Maj. Graham by one year's service, 
resigned on account of failure of health, and was assigned to 
service in the commissary department. Major Schenck is an 
affable gentleman of the highest type of citizen, a most useful 
and successful business man of his county, Cleveland. He is 
the promoter and manager of several cotton mills and a 
branch railroad. His chief partner is a Mr. Reynolds, of 
Philadelphia, Pa. Colonel Faison served in the Interior 
Department of the United States as Indian Agent under 
President Cleveland's last administration. He died while 
in that service in Oklahoma Territory. Capt. Losson Har- 
rell, M.D., of Company I, from Rutherford County, was 
Senior Captain and commanded the Fifty-sixth Regiment a 
part of the time during the siege of Petersburg. He has 
been for several years a member of the State Board of Health. 
Both Harrell and Schenck have also served as State legisla- 
tors, and both are fine types of physical manhood. 

All the captains were fine looking men, but we mention 
especially Captain Mills, of Company G, Henderson County, 
and Captain Alexander, Company K, Mecklenburg County — 
young, tall, and bravest of the brave. During the last week 
in May, 1864, in the breastworks at Bermuda Hundreds, on 
the morning that we took Gen. B. F. Butler's picket line 
and our dead and wounded were brought back, Capt. Alexan- 
der was standing in the midst of our company talking to our 
Captain Grigg, one of our young men, Thomas N^owlin, a 
gallant soldier and a cousin of mine, was seized with an 
epileptic fit, when Captain Alexander was the first to his 



60 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

assistance, and, kneeling over him, did everything he could 
for him. If he had been one of his own men or even a 
brother he could not have shown more sympathetic interest. 
This greatly impressed me as to the real character of the man, 
and verified the adage, "the bravest are the tenderest." I 
was greatly hurt a few weeks later when this noble young 
officer fell in battle. I think about the 20th of Auffust, on 
the Weldon railroad. He was of the sanguine temperament 
of the Scotch-Irish type. 

Our Captain, B. F. Grigg, had a wife and baby that he 
thought more of than of the Confederacy after hope of suc- 
cess was on the wane. He held out faithful to the end, but 
was so glad when the ciiiel war was over that he turned Re- 
publican and was for many years postmaster at Lincolnton 
and a successful merchant. He went in early — joined First 
Regiment of six months' volunteers — and was in first battle 
at Bethel, Ya. ; but he got enough by and by, and wanted to 
quit. 

Brigadier-General Matt. W. Ransom, our Brigade Com- 
mander, is too well known to the people of this country to re- 
quire an extended introduction by me, he having served 
twenty-four years in the United States Senate and four years 
as Minister to Mexico. All who have known him recognize 
in him the highest type of the old-time Southern Christian 
gentleman. As an officer he held the deserved love and high- 
est respect of all his men. He was scholarly, gentle, sympa- 
thetic, and a most pleasant and entertaining orator. He 
would go anywhere in the State to address his old soldiers, 
always giving them the most patriotic advice. He was an 
enthusiastic optimist on the great resources and possibilities 
of our great united country. The last time he addressed the 
Confederate Veterans of Shelby, N. C, about two years be- 
fore he died, money was raised and tendered him to pay his 
expenses, when he said, "]S[o! no! I can not take the boys' 
money ; I don't need it, and if I did I could not take it." 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIEB BOY. 61 

Among the younger officers none excelled General Hoke, 
of Lincolnton, 'N. C. He entered the army as a company offi- 
cer at less than twenty-four years of age. He was soon 
Colonel of the Twenty-first North Carolina Regiment, then 
Brigadier-General. He had not handled a brigade long until 
General Lee witnessed one of his gallant and most successful 
assaults and rode out of his way to compliment him person- 
ally, and there is no doubt, as the sequel will show, but that 
General Lee ever after held him in his highest confidence. 
He was with Stonewall Jackson in all his most brilliant cam- 
paigns. After his gallant brigade had been worn to a frazzle 
following Gettysburg, he was sent back to North Carolina to 
rest and recruit. After a few months of comparative rest, 
he boarded a train at Weldon, N. C, and went to Richmond 
to President Davis and presented a campaigTi for Eastern 
North Carolina, upon the completion of the gun-boat, Alhe- 
marle, nearing completion at Halifax, N. C, stating that he 
thought with two brigades beside his own that he could take 
Plymouth, Washington and New Bern, N. C, and thus clear 
his State of all its invaders. President Davis heard him 
patiently and then said he was glad to hear some one who 
still thought something could be done, and said he w^ould 
transfer some ranking officers and give him the forces sug- 
gested. This writer got these facts from his uncle. Gen. 
John F. Hoke. General Pickett had made an expedition 
against New Bern February 1, 1864, with six brigades, and 
could easily have taken it had not some of his plans miscar- 
ried. An account of General Hoke's taking Plymouth and 
Washington and his service at Drury's Bluff and at Cold 
Harbor are given in a former chapter. General Hoke was 
sent back to North Carolina and commanded at Wilmington, 
N. C, finally surrendering with General Johnson. General 
Hoke is very modest about exploiting his brilliant military 
career; but we have it on the authority of the Charlotte Ob- 
server that during the last months of the war General Lee 



62 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIEK BOY. 

became apprehensive that his health might give way at any 
time, and looking over the whole field, selected General Hoke 
to take his place as his successor, and had snch an understand- 
ing with President Davis and General Hoke. At the begin- 
ning of the Spanish- American War, we heard that President 
]\IcKinley offered General Hoke a Brigadiership, and he 
modestly declined it. The writer met General Hoke twenty- 
five years after the war, and upon complimenting his bril- 
liant campaigns, as an actor and eye-witness, he said, "Yes, 
M'hen I had to fight them I tried to go at it so as to make them 
think I was not afraid of them." He said he was not quite 
twenty-eight years old when the war closed. General Hoke 
is an uncle to Governor Hoke Smith, of Georgia. Besides 
being with General Hoke in his Eastern North Carolina and 
Drury's Bluff campaigns, I got most of my information from 
Capt. L. E. Powers, now of Rutherfordton, 'N. C, who served 
with General Hoke first in the Twenty-first North Carolina 
Regiment and then in his brigade, and under him through 
four years. Captain Powers has represented his county three 
terms in the Legislature. He says he has been under fire 
with General Hoke in about forty engagements and was 
wounded several times. 

A True Virginia Boy and a Bit of Romance. 

While this writer was located on the canal, boating wood 
for the men in the trenches at Petersburg, winter of 1865, he 
became acquainted with a widow lady, Mrs. Dean, and family 
of three children ; a grown daughter. Miss Jennie, and a 
younger daughter, Miss Lucy, aged about twelve, and a little 
son, aged about ten years. They occupied a neat cottage 
near his quarters. They were a nice, intelligent family, 
then in deep mourning for a son and brother, the hope and 
mainstay of the family, who had fallen in battle a few months 
before. Young Dean had proved so good a soldier and had 
so distinguished himself for personal bravery from all the 
battles through the Wilderness on down to Petersburg, that 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 63 

his officers had given him a sixty day furlough to stay with 
his mother. When he had been at home a few weeks, keep- 
ing in touch with his regiment, which was on the lines of de- 
fense near by, in August, when the Federals seized the 
Weldon Railroad and a desperate battle was expected, he 
kissed his mother and sisters and hastened to join his regi- 
ment, and went into battle that day and shed his life's blood 
that day in defense of his native city, his home and loved 
ones, proving himself one of the greatest heroes in Lee's in- 
vincible army of battle-scarred veterans. What nobler deed ! 
What greater sacrifice can any people show ? Our relations 
v/itli this good family became reciprocal. They would do 
some cooking for us, and we would bring them some wood. 
I guessed Miss Jennie was about my age, nineteen, medium 
in size, blue eyes, dark hair, most lovely form- and features, 
of an honest, sincere expression. For all that is good and 
lovely in woman, she filled my ideal ; but pleasant associations 
are soon broken in war, and I was ordered to report to my 
regiment. I had a supply of rations from home and Miss 
Jennie made me some cakes of sorghum molasses, and we 
parted, hoping to meet again soon and to correspond sure. 
My command moved ten miles to the right on Hatches' Run 
for ten days ; then back past Miss Jennie's home in the night, 
and on into the battle in front of Petersburg on the 25th of 
March. Here I threw up the "sponge" and went to Point 
I^ookout and stayed there until the 12th June; then came 
back by Richmond, and on home. We had no mails for a 
year after the war, before I wrote Miss Jennie that I had 
got through in good shape. Then she wrote me a nice letter, 
informing me that she had married a young Confederate sol- 
dier — a Mr. Jones — and giving a cordial invitation to visit 
them if I ever came to Petersburg. Well, as time pulled on, 
I, too, was married in 1872, and was as happy as any one 
could be. Forty years after parting with Miss Jennie I con- 
cluded to visit Petersburg and the old battlefields. I was 
now a grandpap and a widower, and I thought of my old 



64 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

friend, Mrs, Jones, and I wondered what had become of 
them. If she and her husband were living, I would cer- 
tainly give them a call. Then, if I should find her a widow, 
there might be a little bit of new romance started in the Old 
Dominion. I could think of her only as the lovely girl of 
nineteen ; but I had to reflect that she, too, might now be a 
withered grandmother. I went on the Seaboard Road and 
landed right in our old wagon yard. The beautiful oak grove 
was all gone, streets and himdreds of houses covered our old 
stamping ground. I soon located the old canal, like unto a 
sunken road, and could recognize only the old brick mill 
house at the lower end of the canal basin or boat landing. 
Seeing some old veterans around I inquired if they knew 
Mrs, Dean, and they said they did, and Jennie too. That 
she married ISTed Jones ; that Jones had been dead a couple 
of years. Then I enquired, "How is Mrs. Jones ?" "She is 
an invalid — not able to get out. A son and a daughter live 
with her." What sort of a man was Jones ?" "He was a 
good man, a local preacher. She lives second block — third 
house on the right." Starting out to see my poor invalid 
lady friend, I stepped in where beer was sold and got a glass. 
I then interrogated the proprietor, Mr. Quarles, He said he 
was raised there, was about sixteen at close of the war ; had 
served with the old men and boys ; had stood in the breast- 
works and helped repel several attacks upon Petersburg, Yes, 
he knew Mrs, Dean and her family well," Then he told the 
pathetic story of the death of young Dean, and said he came 
very near going with him into that battle. That Miss Jennie 
married Lewellyn Jones, a brother of Ned Jones ; that they 
moved to Crews, Va, Then I learned from him and others 
that Miss Jennie had been dead thirty years, leaving no 
children, and her husband had remarried and had a family 
of grown children ; and that Miss Jennie's little brother lived 
in the city, the last of the family living. Then I took a 
street car for the Crater, where I had labored and fought 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 65 

forty years before, and after taking in the museum of war 
relics, went out where I had thrown some lead, and in an oat 
stubble picked up some battered bullets. A pine tree large 
enough for a saw log is growing in the bottom of the Crater, 
since the 1,500 skeletons had been removed to national ceme- 
teries. 

Col. Billy Miller's Upright Farm in the Upright Re- 
gions OF Cleveland County, and How He Came to 
Own it, with Sketches of the County and Some of 
its People. 

This famous county, the place of my nativity as well as 
that of many others of more or less national and local promi- 
nence, such as Thomas Dixon, Jr., of the Clansman fame; 
Hon. E. Yates Webb, Congressman Ninth District; Col. 
A. M. Lattimore, of Lattimore ; Capt. O. D. Price, the old- 
time singer; Capt. Pink Petty, the famous fox-hunter with 
the silver-mounted horn; Capt. Nim Champion, the standing 
candidate for the Legislature on the one-plank platform — the 
restoration of the whipping-post. Then we have Frank Bar- 
rett, the old soldier candidate, who always runs on just any 
platform the people want, and who distinguished himself dur- 
ing the Civil War by going up in a balloon over the enemy 
for a pint of whiskey, with many others too tedious to men- 
tion, such as bankers, cotton mill men and shop keepers, etc. 
This goodly heritage lies east of the Blue Ridge and is 
flanked by the South Mountains on the north. Cherry Moun- 
tains encircling the west, with the famous little King's Moun- 
tain on the south. One large township embraces the South 
Mountains. 

Little First Broad River with numerous tributaries, flows 
from these mountains south, making a diversified, rolling 
country, interspersed with hills and sandy flats. There was 
a man in our company, F, in the Confederate army from 
the mountain section of our good county by the name of John 



66 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

Wesley Richards, a stalwart fellow of thirty, who for three 
years was a brave and courageous soldier; but after lying in 
the bloody trenches of Petersburg eight and one-half months, 
during which time he was wounded, he became disheartened 
and, forsaking all rights and interest in the Confederacy, 
shouldered his musket and, taking a dozen of his comrades 
with him, set out to fight his way home, and were successful 
in reaching home about the time General Lee surrendered, 
so they were not molested. Besides the right to hold Negro 
slaves, there was another right dearer to the people of upper 
Cleveland, viz, the right to convert their sour apples into 
brandy and their corn into whiskey, infringed upon by the 
Yankee government. After the surviving remnants of the 
Confederate army came home, and the shirkers came in from 
the bushes, all of the little copper stills started up for a joy- 
ful timfj, and public sentiment was so strongly against Fed- 
eral interference that they were not molested much for two 
or three years. Our hero, John Wesley Richards, after his 
long, arduous campaigns in the war, felt that he was entitled 
to a season of rest and recreation, with plenty of refreshments 
thrown in to boot. So he got on a long and continuous spree, 
and went to the bad, until his wife had to divorce him and 
turn him out to "root hog or die." Then, after a while, he 
began to rally and reform; and a grand, speculative idea 
striking him, he traded his faithful squirrel dog and his old 
shot gun for a warrantee deed for one hundred acres of land 
in the upright region of Cleveland County. Then, as Wes- 
ley began to prosper, he found himself in need of a one-horse 
wagon, called in these parts a "carryall" ; and learning that 
J. S. Groves, a big merchant at Shelby, kept wagons to sell 
for cash and on time, Wesley wended his way to Shelby and, 
looking over Mr. Groves' wagons, said he would like to have 
the running works of a one-horse wagon, but did not have the 
cash to pay down. Mr. Groves said that was all right ; if he 
could give him a good paper he could have the wagon. John 
Wesley said he could give him a mortgage on one hundred 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 67 

acres of land. Mr. Groves said that would do. The papers 
were fixed up, the wagon delivered and John Wesley went on 
his way home rejoicing. The next fall Mr. Groves notified 
him that his note was due and they would expect him down 
soon to settle. A few weeks later he wrote Wesley that if he 
did not come soon and make some arrangements that he 
would have to advertise that land. John Wesley heeded not 
these warnings, and the land was advertised ; and here is 
where Col. Billy Miller butted in and bought a cheap farm. 
Col. Billy had served in the cavalry during the war and man- 
aged to pull through in good shape. After engaging in several 
enterprises he founded a weekly newspaper called The Shelby 
Aurora, and made a great success. So this was the paper 
the land was advertised in. When the land was sold, lying 
twenty-five miles from to^vn, none of the to^vn people knew 
anything of it. Colonel Billy started it at forty cents per 
acre, which covered the cost of the wagon and advertisement, 
and no one bettered it, and he thought he had picked up a 
great bargain. jS^ow this writer used to be somewhat con- 
nected with the Aurora. When his crops were short and 
prices low he could always get a job with Colonel Miller dur- 
ing the winter months to help out making ends meet, col- 
lecting and drumming up new subscribers. The Aurora was 
very popular — good coarse print so everybody could read it — 
and most everybody took it whether they could read or not. 
Its chief policy was to flatter all its patrons — those who paid 
for it because they paid and those who did not pay in hopes 
they would pay. When a man re-covered his house, built a 
new stable or cleared a fresh field we called him one of our 
most industrious and enterprising citizens, and when a fellow 
came to town to buy a side of bacon or a sack of flour on time 
be was alluded to as being on a business trip ; and when noth- 
ing else good could be said of a fellow, we would puff him on 
his enthusiastic and steadfast Democracy. The way to run 
a county paper is t^ brag on all the people all the time and 



68 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

keep a good list of subscribers, and the patent medicine fel- 
lows will pay the running expense. So one winter, as I was 
ranging around the mountains near Colonel Miller's farm, I 
met up with Blacksmith George Towrj, a jovial, good-natured 
man, who said, "Tell Miller to send me his paper six months 
for showing those fellows his farm and trying so hard to sell 
it to them. He sent two young men up here and referred 
them to me and I went over there and showed it to them and 
bragged on it all I could. When we got to the house I said, 
"You see that large white-oak on the lower side of the yard, 
that is the place to have your hog pen ; it will always produce 
acorns enough to fatten a hog ; then see that large hickory in 
front of the house ; it is full of squirrels every day in the fall, 
and while your hog is fattening you can sit in the door and 
shoot a mess as you need them. Then, if you get tired eating 
squirrels, just look out yonder in that old field at the 'simmon 
trees. They are full of 'possoms every night, and you can 
gather a mess as you need them. Then when you kill your 
hog and get tired of so much greasy doings, just go up on the 
side of the mountain and cut some gum logs and you can catch 
all the rabbits you want. Don't you see its the easiest place 
to live you ever saw ? Then look down there at that spring, 
as pure water as ever come out of the ground ; it would be 
worth a thousand dollars anywhere in Texas ; and the climate 
can't be beat anywhere in the world — malaria, microbes and 
such things never bother us. These high mountains on the 
north and east break off the cold winds. In winter you can 
set out on a log in the sunshine all day and enjoy the scenery ; 
then, if you are ambitious and enterprising, you could start 
up a turkey ranch right here; you have sixty thousand acres 
of free range, enough to raise 10,000 turkeys, with at least 
fifty cents per head net profit; that gives you $5,000 per 
year income on turkeys alone. I tell you that would beat 
raising cotton on the sandy flats all hollow. All the ex- 
pense raising turkeys would just be to throw them a little 
corn to keep them gentle. The young men looked puzzled 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 69 

and one said, 'And where would we get the corn V 'Oh/ said 
I, 'jou could find some com down at Jack Morrison's mill 
or at Ped Price's store.' Then one says, 'And how could we 
get the turkeys to market ?' and I says, 'Oh, drive them out ; 
they can fly across these deep hollows.' He then added, 'The 
young men turned away looking sorrowful, and I don't know 
whether they will buy or not.' " 

Uncle Abe Wallis Visits Washington. 

A few years ago a story was current of an old darkey from 
Salisbury, N. C, visiting Washington, D. C, to see the Presi- 
dent and obtain social recognition. We name him. Uncle 
Abe Wallis was an industrious, well-behaved matter-of-fact 
old darkey who had accumulated the snug sum of forty dol- 
lars, and concluded to spend it in the advancement of his 
social position, and he reasoned that the shortest way to get 
to the top quick would be to call on the President for recog- 
nition. So he paid $15.00 for a ticket and boarded a fiyer, 
and was on his way to the mecca of Afro-American hopes, 
rights and social privileges, looking disdainfully upon the 
common blacks as he sped by them along the way, he was soon 
in the city of equal rights for all with special privileges for 
none. After being relieved of two dollars for a night's lodg- 
ing at a colored hotel, bright and early he inquired the way 
and set out for the White House, where he expected to take 
dinner and wanted his name in the pot in time. When he 
had had an insight of the coveted goal and turned in that di- 
rection, he was accosted by a harsh voice, "Whar ye goin' ?" 
"Well, sar ; I'se on my way to visit the President." "This is 
not the day to see the President." "Well, I don't care any- 
thing about your arrangements ; but this is my day to see 
him." "I guess not." "Captain, call the wagon and give 
this man a ride." "Den, befo' I could parley any mo' about 
it, dey chucked me in de wagin and went down one of dem 
wide roads as hard as dey could tare and soon turned up at 



70 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIEE BOY. 

a 'spectable enough looking buildin'. Den dey tell me to git 
out, and when I go in dej feel in my pockets and take my 
money and say, 'Guess we better save dis, de bums will 
clean you up.' Den dar I was with a passel of no count 
looking Niggers and some po' drunken white trash — about de 
worst company I ever got into. 'Next mornin' de Jedge call 
me out and ax what my name and where I live. I say my 
name am Abraham Wallis and my home are Salisbury, N. C. 
Den he say, "What is your business," and I tell him I am a 
deacon in our Baptist church. Den he say, "And what is 
your business here ?" an' I tell him I come specially to visit 
the President and let him know that there was as good an' 
'spectable colored people in North Carolina as dere was in 
Alabama. Den he say, "Old man, I'll discharge you on 
condition that you take the first train South ; you can't af- 
ford to circulate around here ; some one will pull your "wad 
and you will be stranded along way from home. Gro home 
while you can" ; and soon I was comin' back just as fast as 
I went. I tell ye I'se seen 'nough of Washington; de col- 
ored man haint got no showin' at all. At Raleigh I can jest 
walk ,l*ight into the Grovernor's office and nobody'll say, 
^Vhere you gwine ? and de Governor would say he felt pleased 
to see me, and he'd give me my dinner too; but he wouldn't 
eat with me. I'se hearn about dis yaller Nigger, Booker 
Washington, who goes up North to eat wid white folks. He 
runs a big school and a big farm down in Alabama and gits 
all de young colored boys he can to go to school some and to 
work on his farm lots ; and he tells 'em dey ought to be 
powerful glad to get to work on de farm, while he sends his 
own children off to Wesley University, in school wid white 
children. Take it all round, the honest colored person is re- 
spected about as much in North Carolina as anywhere, and I 
'spect to stay at home after dis and keep on good terms wid 
our white folks, for dey is the best after all." 



the southeen soldier boy. 71 

An Irish Socialist. 

Patrick Finnegan had been studying socialism and told liis 
friend, Barney O'Brien, that socialism was a good thing, 
both charitable and Christian, and if the people would adopt 
it all would be prosperous and happy. Barney says, "Pat, 
if ye had two homes, would ye give me one ?" "To be sure I 
would," says Pat. Then if ye had two horses, would ye 
give me one ?'' "Then certainly I would," says Pat. "Then 
if ye had two hogs would ye give me one ?" "No. To hell 
with ye, Barney ; ye know I've got thim." "Well, that was 
what I was thinking, that ye would hold to your pigs with 
all tiie tenacity that a Vanderbilt would grip his railroads. 
It is aisy enough to give away what ye ain't got; but if ye 
can't practice what ye preach ye had as well shut up." 
"N^ow that's just like ye, Barney ; ye would never make a good 
socialist. Ye would rob me entirely. You know I need me 
hogs ; but I would not need but one home, and one horse would 
be all I could work and feed." "Yes, Pat, and I guess if ye 
wait until ye get a home and a horse you'll be a socialist a 
good while yet." "To be sure I will, and if you ever have 
a home at all it will be when I have one to give you." Bar- 
ney : "Then I guess I had better hold my job and not depend 
on ye." Pat: "Along with ye, Barney; it may be well that 
ye can always find a boss." 

Seven Days' Fight Around Richmond. 

Reminiscences of Dr. Alexander, of Charlotte, ]N^. C, recall 
to me the scenes of those battle-fields of the Seven Days' bat- 
tles of McClellan, 1862, when we passed over the ground in 
June, 1864, on our way to the Chickahominy River. 
Many of the Federal dead had scarcely been buried at all, 
as the rank weeds over the naked bones and blue rotten uni- 
forms showed, where groups of a score or more had been 
bunched in shallow graves and lightly covered. 



72 THE SOUTHERN SOLDIEE BOY. 

"Out of the 2,700 soldiers furnished the Southern army by 
Mecklenburg, how few remain to tell of that fearful seven- 
days' struggle. The weather had been intensely hot before 
the fighting began for several days. Many of our men were 
on the sick list. On the 25th inst. the long roll was sounded ; 
our troops, the Thirty-seventh Regiment, was hastily formed 
in line. Confederate battle-flags were here first displayed; 
stretchers for bearing off the wounded were here first put in 
charge of the ambulance corps. Everything wore a death-like 
hue. John Bell, a member of my company, said he was not 
able for the march, was sick ; I spoke to the surgeon, and told 
him I would take Bell's word for anything. He said, "Leave 
him behind." In a week he was dead. Another fellow asked 
me to intercede for him, that he was sick. I told him I 
knew Bell, but I could not vouch for him ; when night came 
he deserted, and is living yet. This was as we were leaving 
camp at Brock Church, six miles north of Richmond. We 
camped near Meadow Bridge. On the 28th we moved slowly 
down the Chickahominy ; got on the edge of the road to let a 
body of Yankee prisoners pass ; one of our men asked them 
where they were going; an Irisman answered, 'In faith, I 
am going to Richmond, where me wife has been telling me to 
go for the last two months, and how far is it yit ?' 

"Late in the afternoon we heard heavy cannonading in our 
front, and we pushed forward rapidly, bearing to the left, as 
we thought, to charge a battery. Shells were passing through 
our line, killing seven men in one company ; when we got in 
thirty steps of the battery we were ordered to lay down, to 
support the battery. The artillery duel ceased about 8 o'clock, 
and remained quiet until 9 o'clock next morning, when it 
broke loose with a vengeance and was quickly over. General 
Jackson had got in McClellan's rear. Here the sun was 
terribly hot as we lay on the southern slope of the hillside, 
with nothing to protect us from the vertical rays of the sun. 
We went from here to Mechanicsville, where the heavy fight- 
ing was done the evening before. Here the Yankee dead had 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 73 

not been moved, and the swarms of horse-flies that arose from 
the dead carcasses rendered it necessary for each man to hold 
one hand over his mouth and nose. It is impossible to de- 
scribe the scene as it was. In the afternoon of the 27th we 
reached Gains' Mill ; this battle opened about 3 p. m. It 
was terrific. JSTorth Carolina's loss was very great. It was 
here that Colonel Campbell was killed. Capt. Billy Kerr 
was desperately wounded. Many private soldiers and com- 
pany officers from Mecklenburg were killed and wounded. A 
rare sight I witnessed. Some man, I never knew who he was, 
was riding back and forth in front of our firing line, talking 
to the men, telling them to aim low, don't shoot too high ; he 
was bareheaded, wounded in the neck ; no coat on, and was 
riding a gray horse ; the blood had run down from his neck 
to his gray horse ; he appeared cool and determined. A large 
and spotted hound appeared at the same time, running and 
barking as heavy limbs were cut off by shells, licking the 
blood from the dead and wounded. I don't know what be- 
came of the dog or the man on horseback. 

"When the battle was over, I was appointed to the medical 
department and assigned to the Thirty-seventh Regiment. 
We went next to the bloody field of Frazier's farm. Here 
our Colonel, Charles C. Lee, was killed ; he was as gallant an 
officer as ever trod the battle-fields of Virginia ; he was as 
brave as a lion and gentle as a lamb, and thought it not incon- 
sistent with his profession as a soldier, to acknowledge Jesus 
Christ as the Captain of his salvation. 

"The next move was to overtake McClelland's army, which 
was halted at Malvern Hill. Here General McGruder was 
in front, and his orders were to feel what position the enemy 
occupied. It was said at the time that McGruder was so 
pleased with the position of his artillery that he at once 'let 
slip the dogs of war.' This proved the bloodiest battle of the 
war for the time it lasted. From personal observation I can 
testify that there was no break in the roar of musketry for 
five hours. The gunboats on the James River threw large 



T4: THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 

shells at random, most of which burst over their own troops. 
The battle closed at 10 o'clock at night. Immediately the 
Yankee army sought the shelter of their gunboats. It took 
us two days to get the wounded all off to Richmond. One 
peculiar case of gun-shot wound I will mention. A soldier 
by the name of Rankin, Company H, Thirty-seventh Regi- 
ment, shot in the base of the skull of the medulla oblongatta, 
did not prevent him from walking about; was examined by 
a dozen surgeons, but were unable to trace or locate the bullet, 
when Dr. Campbell, of the Seventh Regiment, called me as 
the youngest surgeon to try my hand. In a jest I placed my 
hand on his forehead and told him to open his mouth ; at once 
I saw a swelling in the roof of his mouth ; it was hard and 
smooth. I made a slit with a scalpel, and showed a minnie 
ball to the astonished surgeons. How the ball got there with- 
out killing him has always been a mystery. 

"President Davis spent a night with us; he was in fine 
spirits, but seemed deeply touched at the sight of so much 
suffering. We passed by the battle-ground two days after 
the battle ; the field was rolling ; our dead were all buried ; 
it looked like a thousand-acre field of potato hills. The enemy 
were still lying where they fell. They must have fought with 
great desperation, as their line of battle was plainly to be seen 
by about every third man being killed. This line could be 
traced one mile and a half. 

"After waiting a few days to rest, and the enemy showing 
no disposition to renew the fight, our m.en, from privates to 
general officers, began a general hunt for them pesky little 
fellows that are not known in polite circles. I have seen five 
hundred men have their shirts off at one time, looking for — 
what they were sure to find. After this campaign we had a 
great deal of typhoid fever ; the hospitals being full of wound- 
ed, the most of the cases were treated in camp, more success- 
fully than they would have been in Richmond hospitals. 
Lest we forget." 



the southern soldier boy. y5 

The Negro Problem, 

Saj what you will, it is the cause of all the sectional preju- 
dice and hatred ever engendered in this country. Thousands 
of millions of money and hundreds of thousands of lives of 
good white men have been sacrificed in the solution of the 
Negro problem for this country, and still it hangs over us 
the darkest cloud that obscures the bright vision of peace and 
good will to all men. And as the biologists say, ''He stands 
out in his dark isolation a pei^petual challenge to the dogma 
of the unity of the races." We understand him as a slave. 
In that capacity he filled every expectation that could be re- 
quired of him, always reflecting the character of his master. 
If the master was very religious, so was he. If the master 
was a drunkard and a sinner, so was he. Always a good imi- 
tator, but never an originator. He liked to be flattered and 
honored and was always faithful to every special trust. When 
kindly treated he loved his master like a child. These were 
the conditions that the discipline of slavery obtained. Now 
his status has changed and all personal restraints are removed 
and strict discipline stopped. He is now thrown upon his 
own resources, and must stand upon his own merits. He is 
now inclined to neglect the patient, hard-earned virtues of 
the whites, and to imitate their easy vices. He is handicapped 
at every turn by race prejudices. The professions in most 
places are closed to him. He is not wanted anywhere except 
as a cheap hewer of wood and drawer of water. All intelli- 
gent white labor resent his competition, even in the humblest 
work. White lawyers and doctors get some pickings out of 
him, and where he is numerous white merchants have a good 
pull on him. All who are getting anything out of him are 
willing to tolerate him. All who get nothing out of him 
would gladly see him deported. Wherever he gets a foothold 
in country or city he depreciates real estate by making con- 
ditions more or less intolerable. He is a prolific subject for 
religious fanatics and cranks to practice upon. He is an 



T6 THE SOUTHEKN SOLDIER BOY. 

alien here in his native country among his own people. He 
is the only man in all the world ashamed of himself and his 
color. His greatest ambition is to be evoluted into a white 
man, and he wants to start right now, and so long as that 
boon is denied him will he be an aggressive alien. Since the 
old masters and old servants have passed away there is no 
friendship or kind interest between their descendants, and 
the gulf is widening all the while. This great country, lead- 
ing the vanguard of civilization for all the world, must do 
justice to all men. Now what can we do with the Negro? 
Shall we keep him here a standing menace and a perpetual 
challenge to mob law, and increase our police force, or deport 
him and sustain a strictly white man's country. If we deport 
him as fast as Europeans come in, we would soon be done with 
him as a factor in politics and labor ; but as yet we have no 
place to send him. Through industrial and commercial rela- 
tions we will soon absorb Mexico and the Central American 
States, and uj)on the completion of the Panama Canal we 
can expand rapidly into South America, where there is a 
vast area of unsettled country that would make an ideal 
i\egro country — throughout all of the Amazon River country 
territory could be procured for the colonization of all our 
Negroes under the fostering care of the United States, where 
the black man may hold all the offices and fulfill all the func- 
tions of complete citizenship, with close commercial relations 
in the exchange of products. I have been taxed forty years 
for freeing him, and would consent to be taxed forty years 
more to remove him to such a paradise as herein suggested. 

We want the Chinese excluded because they are too docile 
and carry a head of their own. Then we want the Jap ex- 
cluded because he is too smart for us to compete with. When 
we lose a few million white men fighting Japan, as we will 
have to do soon, as they swann over here, dictating how they 
shall be treated, then the white man's burden will be pretty 
heavy with the colored problem, and a general house-cleaning 



THE SOUTHERN SOLDIER BOY. 77 

may follow that will purify the political atmosphere some- 
what. 

In the meantime all of our great, soulless corporations, 
transportation and manufacturing companies regard all * 'coons 
alike," whether they be white, black, yellow, brown or ring- 
streaked or striped. They exploit them for what profit 
there is in them without regard to the interest of the present 
or future generations. What did it matter to the Pharaohs 
what was to be the future of their country, so long as they 
had plenty of slaves to rear gigantic pyramids to their own 
selfish ambition. 

In peace or war, where is the town that would have ISTegro 
troops quartered in it, for fear at any time they be offended, 
shoot up the town and massacre the women and children ? 
Anywhere in this country that the Negro is denied full social 
rights, he stands offended and ready to enact any tragedy 
that promises to advance his social position. The whites must 
decide whether they shall warm him in their bosoms or cast 
him off. Nothing has ever been more firmly implanted in 
the human breast than race prejudice. No first-class white 
man can feel at ease on social equality with the colored races. 



INDEX 



Page. 

Jamestown and its significance 5 

The Jamestown Exposition 5 

A tribute to Virginia 7 

History of Company F, Fifty-sixth Regiment 8 

Confederate monument at Shelby 35 

A patriotic recruit 36 

A bad case of itch ^ 37 

Longstreet's Corps on the way to Chickamauga 38 

Shooting an outlaw 39 

Removing Federal prisoners from Richmond to Andersonville. . . 40 

Navigating the Appomattox River 42 

Incidents in the lines 45 

Reminiscences of Point Lookout Prison 46 

A negro servant who claimed he carried white ladies' hair 47 

Begging crumbs from a negro's table 47 

Two patriotic soldiers and one who was out for the bounty 48 

On the wharf detail, and waiting to steal something from Uncle 

Sam's plentiful stores 48 

The invasion of home land after Lee's surrender 52 

A faithful negro servant 52 

Would not let them take all the meat the man had 53 

Confederate troopers commit outrages, plunder and murder 54 

A hearty conscript 54 

Scenes at Appomattox — Stragglers in the Union army 56 

A patriotic darkey 57 

An aggrieved Union soldier seeks sympathy from his Southern 

people 58 

Field officers of the Fifty-sixth Regiment, North Carolina troops, 58 

A true Virginia boy and a bit of romance 62 

Col. Billy Miller's upright farm in the upright regions of Cleve- 
land County, and how he came to own it, with sketches of the 

county and some of its people 65 

Uncle Abe Wallis' visit to Washington 69 

An Irish socialist 71 

Seven days' fight around Richmond 71 

The negro problem 75 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 



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